Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Work of a Master


I am a big John Irving fan.  Through thick and thin, books I hate to books I love.  The World According to Garp is on my Desert Island list from a previous post (you can see it here).   John Irving has written 12 novels and I’ve read eight of them. 

Despite the fact that I think Irving is an absolutely brilliant story teller, my reading experience with him has been uneven.  Garp is, in my opinion, one of the classic American novels.  I completely and utterly hated A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I almost didn’t finish it.  I never abandon books – I always finish them.  The Cider House Rules and A Widow for One Year were stunning stories.  So beautifully written.  The Fourth Hand was just, meh.  I found Until I Find You everything I love and dislike about Irving’s writing all packaged up in one: passages of brilliance mixed with stretches of total mediocrity.

Thankfully, Last Night in Twisted River is one of those great Irving books.  Layered story lines that weave together in a masterful fashion; ranging from logging accidents, murder, a manhunt and, of course romances. Settings become characters of their own from New England to Boston to Toronto.  Beautiful, raw, sentimental, damaged characters not the least of which is a loving father, a devoted best friend and a boy trying to make sense of his life.

I completely enjoyed it.  The lovely twist this time though was Irving writing about writing through his main character Danny who as an adult writes (coincidentally) semi-autobiographical novels.

This is a must read Irving book.  There are lots of plot and subplot twists, beautiful narrative and character development.  He is a master and although they can’t all be good, inevitably, one will show up and blow your doors off.

Last Night in Twisted River
John Irving
Knopf

2 comments:

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Glad you're back!! Good to hear that John Irving book is good (although I must confess to thoroughly enjoying A Prayer For Owen Meany). Keep them coming!
(Deb)

Nikki said... [Reply to comment]

@Anonymous Thanks Deb! Hope you keep reading!