Monday, April 17, 2006
John Irving's Latest - UNTIL I FIND YOU
It's a big book, coming in at 824 pages and with a small typeface. It's also so heavy that I had to adjust my position a lot while reading in bed - the best position being lying on my back with the book propped on my chest and my glasses propped on the end of my nose. I prefer a sideways read, but my arm was becoming as numb as Elizabeth Green's (see Out of the Blue). The bathtub was out of the question.
As I read along, I was undecided about whether this was Irving's best novel - his masterpiece, or the weakest he's written. At the end, I am inclined to the first judgement. The ending brought me to tears (and it wasn't just the weight off my chest).
It's the life story of Jack Burns and the narration wanders around the planet to places many of you are familiar with - Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Toronto, New York, Maine (of course) Los Angeles and so on.
About page 500 or so I began to wonder why John has included penises and vaginas so frequently in the book. Not that I mind these things particularly (they have their place one could say), but what's going on? It also includes the worlds of tattoos, wrestling, classical organ music (not the penis and vagina organs in this case), acting, porn stars, plot twists and turns, fantastic characters and for you diehard Irving fans... yes there are novels within this novel (and movies of the novels within the novel). At its heart, there is a mystery which I will not ruin for you.
If you like John Irving, you have to read it. If you're thinking of exploring him, I might suggest Ciderhouse Rules or A Prayer for Owen Meany.
Keep passing the open windows, Gary.
But I will look up this and the Owen Meany book. Allways looking for good reads!
"...and it wasn't just the weight off my chest." Laughed out loud at that one.
The new one is on my summer list. Thanks.
A Prayer for Owen Meany was the first book I ever read that actually made me cry. I cry all the times at movies, but almost never at books.
My three favorite Irving novels are Ciderhouse Rules, The World According to Garp, and A Widow for One Year.
I've also learned that no matter how much you might hate an Irving book at any point while you are reading it, you'll probably love it at the end. I keep telling myself that every time I try to get into Owen Meany. I have tried to start that book about 6 times, but it just doesn't hold my interest.
My love to the dogs of Gary & Pissed off Patricia. My dog will be 12 in a couple of months, so I am treasuring my time with him while he is still healthy.
Good to be able to comment again, Gary.
"The Hotel New Hamsphire" and "The Water Method Man" are must reads!
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