“There are people in this world who can wear whale masks and people who cannot, and the wise know to which group they belong.”
It is a weird quote unless you know about the tradition. Wikipedia describes the potlatch as a gift-giving feast practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States. I allude to it in my first chapter.
Robbins plays more with his plot, but my novel has similarity to his style. I make more use of allusions, symbols, and mythology.