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The Fourth Handby John Irving
Synopses & Reviews
The Fourth Hand asks an interesting question: "How can anyone identify a dream of the future?" The answer: "Destiny is not imaginable, except in dreams or to those in love."
While reporting a story from India, a New York television journalist has his left hand eaten by a lion; millions of TV viewers witness the accident. In Boston, a renowned hand surgeon awaits the opportunity to perform the nation's first hand transplant; meanwhile, in the distracting aftermath of an acrimonious divorce, the surgeon is seduced by his housekeeper. A married woman in Wisconsin wants to give the one-handed reporter her husband's left hand — that is, after her husband dies. But the husband is alive, relatively young, and healthy.
"[A] rich and deeply moving tale, and (in the best sense) vintage John Irving: a story of two very disparate people, and the strange and unexpected ways we may grow." Chris Bohjalian, The Washington Post Book World
"[C]ompulsively readable....This is classic Irving....
"Irving presumably means all this to be a Dickensian fable...but it's a self-indulgent mishmash of let's-see-what-weird-things-I-can-come-up-with-next plotting and complacent commentary laid on by a very heavy, omniscient authorial, uh, hand." Kirkus Reviews
"A blend of sexual farce, journalistic satire, and tender love story....From what at first seems bizarre, Irving builds the best kind of love story: an improbable one. Wallingford gets more than a transplanted hand; he begins to find his soul." USA Today
"A riveting entertainment and certainly one of the funniest novels of the year. The authoritative control of Irving's storytelling has never been more impressive....The delighted reader is powerless to look away." Chicago Sun-Times
"A beautiful story about the redemptive power of love." The Denver Post
"[A] thoroughly satisfying literary experience....Irving's most compassionate and redemptive [novel] to date....[His] mastery of characterization is unequaled in American novelists of the day." St. Louis Post Dispatch
"A turbocharged plot and outsized heroes and villains [who] will delight fans? In The Fourth Hand, as in his past works, [Irving] aims to tell a sweeping narrative with big, poignant themes, and he succeeds with brio." Elle
By turns brilliantly comic and emotionally moving, this New York Times #1 bestseller is hailed as "a riveting entertainment and certainly one of the funniest novels of the year" (Chicago Sun-Times).
While reporting a story from India, New York journalist Patrick Wallingford inadvertently becomes his own headline when his left hand is eaten by a lion. In Boston, a renowned surgeon eagerly awaits the opportunity to perform the nations first hand transplant. But what if the donors widow demands visitation rights with the hand? In answering this unexpected question, John Irving has written a novel that is by turns brilliantly comic and emotionally moving, offering a penetrating look at the power of second chances and the will to change.
About the Author
John Irving published his first novel at the age of twenty-six. He has received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation; he has won an O. Henry Award, a National Book Award, and an Oscar. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In January 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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