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A Prayer for Owen Meanyby John Irving
Synopses & Reviews
In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys — best friends — are playing in a Little League baseball game in New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills his best friend's mother. Owen Meany believes he didn't hit the ball by accident. He believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after 1953 is extraordinary and terrifying. He is Irving's most heartbreaking hero.
"I have been a voracious reader since childhood, and while I've read and loved many, many books, I can honestly say that A Prayer for Owen Meany is my all-time favorite! It is such an extraordinarily funny, moving and heartbreaking story and the ending is the best and most satisfying one I've ever read. The highlight of my first year working for Ballantine Books was attending a reading John Irving gave for the paperback publication. Owen Meany has a very memorable voice when you read the book, so you can imagine how exciting it was for me to hear my favorite author read my favorite book and do the voice of Owen Meany!" M. Coolman, Ballantine Publicity
"Extraordinary, so original, and so enriching....A rare creation in the somehow exhausted world of late 20th century fiction....Readers will come to the end feeling sorry to leave [this] richly textured and carefully wrought world." Stephen King, The Washington Post Book World
"Roomy, intelligent, exhilarating, and darkly comic....Dickensian in scope....Quite stunning and very ambitious." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A lavish meditation on predestination, faith, and the unrealized forces that shape one's days." San Francisco Chronicle
"John Irving is an abundantly and even joyfully talented storyteller." The New York Times Book Review
"Vintage Irving....A boisterous cast, a spirited joy." Time
"Riveting...Owen Meany, drawn in bold strokes, burns in the mind's eye — vivid, alive, beloved — long after the turning of the final page." UPI
"A Prayer for Owen Meany leaps off the pages with an imaginative passion that is startling....This is John Irving at full throttle: a riveting narrative, a cast of richly developed characters, and a story as complex and unbelievable as life itself....[A] joyous, provocative read!" Playboy
"One of the most subtle and brilliant artistic examinations yet of America and America's involvement in Vietnam." San Jose Mercury News
"Superbly narrated sequences of comic action... Irving is particularly good at rendering the dynamics of things — he has a Dickensian ability to juxtapose and animate unpromising objects? [as in] the book's grand and brilliantly conceived final scene....You don't just read Irving, you listen to him." The New Republic
"A wondrous novel... ultimately beguiling in its soulful account of a remarkable friendship... Irving's ability to create idiosyncratic characters and put them through weirdly ridiculous yet realistic paces has never been in finer fettle. Humor partnered with compassion, wisdom with absurdity, leave the reader both mirthful and tearful." Booklist
"[Mr. Irving] is more than popular. He is a Populist, determined to keep alive the Dickensian tradition that revels in colorful set pieces and teaches moral lessons....More than any of his novels since Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany embraces those 19th-century qualities." The New York Times
John Irvings A Prayer for Owen Meany is the inspiring modern classic that introduced two of the authors most unforgettable characters, boys bonded forever in childhood: the stunted Owen Meany, whose life is touched by God, and the orphaned Johnny Wheelwright, whose life is touched by Owen. From the accident that links them to the mystery that follows them-and the martyrdom that parts them-the events of their lives form a tapestry of fate and faith in a novel that is Irving at his irresistible best.
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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