A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers.
John Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times - winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. He also received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for the short story 'Interior Space'. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules - a film with seven Academy Award nominations. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent novel is Last Night in Twisted River.
The first half of Irving's ninth novel tells the story of Eddie O'Hare, a prep school student with literary aspirations who lands a job as a personal assistant to noted children's author Ted Cole in the summer of 1958. O'Hare spends most of the time in bed with Cole's wife, Marion. The second half of the book describes O'Hare's acquaintance, decades later, with Ruth Cole, Ted's daughter, who is also a successful writer. While researching her latest novel, Ruth witnesses the murder of an Amsterdam window prostitute. Irving tantalizes us with this promising subplot, then veers off in another direction. As in The World According to Garp (LJ 6/1/78), nearly every character in the book churns out reams of Irving-esque prose. It's hard to empathize with these dreary people, and their picaresque adventures seem to lack any thematic relevance. Instead of ending, the book simply runs out of steam. Still, there are legions of rabid Irving fans who will want to read every word he has written. For larger fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/98.]‘Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch., Los Angeles
Wickedly knowing, mischievously post-modern and magical realist
along the lines of Gunter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and
Robertson Davies * Time Out *
Gripping, full of horror and humour * Literary Review *
A compelling chronicle of love and loss... His most intricate and fully imagined novel * San Francisco Chronicle *
Irving's storytelling has never been better * New York Times *
His best since Garp * Time *