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In One Person


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About the Author

John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times--winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story "Interior Space." In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person. An international writer--his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages--John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.


John Benjamin Hickey more than does justice to Irving's simple but effective prose in this unusual coming-of-age novel that sensitively explores sexual identity and orientation. Hickey gets this audio edition off to a good start with his reading of passages in which bisexual protagonist Billy Dean admits to having trouble pronouncing certain words such as library and penis-which Dean can only vocalize as "penith"-a fact that genuinely causes him anguish, especially as puberty kicks in and he develops a crush on the librarian of his small Vermont town. Portraying an older character with a speech impediment looking back on his life could trip up many a talented narrator, but Hickey doesn't miss a beat. One of the many high points is his depiction of Dean's grandfather, a humorous female impersonator with an acid view of the town's teenage acting talent in a local production of Ibsen. Irving fans will be delighted. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Irving's latest novel is not only politically and sexually charged, it offers much fodder for scholars exploring his common themes and motifs: wrestling, bear-like beings, outsiders, aspiring writers, and more. This coming-of-age tale unfurls through an older man's eyes as he reflects upon his tormented adolescent desires and the path they led him through in the age of AIDS, LGBT struggles, and his own realizations about sexuality and sexual identity. The "sexual suspect" concept Irving employed in The World According to Garp is embodied in the bisexual narrator, Billy, and explored in fuller, more graphic terms. The novel often moves slowly and with much repetition in a narrative web that captures other characters who challenge and forge the young man. VERDICT Irving's use of other writers-Shakespeare, James Baldwin, and Henrik Ibsen, among others-makes this a literary and theatrical journey as well. John Benjamin Hickey's reading is strong and assured. Recommended for adult and mature audiences. ["This wonderful blend of thought-provoking, well-constructed, and meaningful writing is what one has come to expect of Irving, and it also makes for an enjoyable page-turner," read the review of the S. & S. hc, LJ 3/15/12.-Ed.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"In One Person gives a lot. It's funny, as you would expect. It's risky in what it exposes....Tolerance, in a John Irving novel, is not about anything goes. It's what happens when we face our own desires honestly, whether we act on them or not."--Jeanette Winterson "The New York Times Book Review "
"It is impossible to imagine the American - or international - literary landscape without John Irving....He has sold tens of millions of copies of his books, books that have earned descriptions like epic and extraordinary and controversial and sexually brave. And yet, unlike so many writers in the contemporary canon, he manages to write books that are both critically acclaimed and beloved for their sheer readability. He is as close as one gets to a contemporary Dickens in the scope of his celebrity and the level of his achievement." --Time

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