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My Movie Business: A Memoirby John Irving
Synopses & Reviews
John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr. Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist, and includes Mr. Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel The Cider House Rules for the screen--for four different directors.
Mr. Irving also writes about the failed effort to make his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, into a movie; about two of the films that were made from his novels (but not from his screenplays), The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire; about his slow progress at shepherding his screenplay of A Son of the Circus into production.
Not least, and in addition to its qualities as a memoir--anecdotal, comic, affectionate, and candid--My Movie Business is an insightful essay on the essential differences between writing a novel and writing a screenplay.
The photographs in My Movie Business were taken by Stephen Vaughan, the still photographer on the set of The Cider House Rules--a Miramax production directed by Lasse Hallström, with Michael Caine in the role of Dr. Larch. Concurrently with the November 1999 release of the film, Talk Miramax Books will publish John Irving's screenplay.
About the Author
John Winslow Irving is the author of nine novels, among them A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Widow for One Year.
"My grandfather Dr. Frederick C. Irving graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1910. He was an intern at the Massachusetts General Hospital and later became chief of staff at the Boston Lying-In--a pioneer institution, founded in 1832. In my grandfather's day, the Boston Lying-In had already become one of the world's leading obstetrical hospitals.
"Dr. Irving was also a professor of obstetrics at Harvard, and the author of three books: The Expectant Mother's Handbook, A Textbook of Obstetrics, and a biography of the Boston Lying-In Hospital called Safe Deliverance. The last was chiefly a history of obstetrics and gynecological surgery in the United States; it was published in 1942, the year I was born. When I first told my parents that I wanted to become a writer--I was fourteen--my parents said, 'Well, your grandfather is a writer. You should read his books.'
"And so, at about the same time I first read Charles Dickens, I began to read my grandfather 'Fritz' Irving. For a fourteen-year-old, the clinical details of the early days of obstetrics and gynecological surgery were frankly more eye-opening than anything in Charles Dickens, although Dickens would ultimately prove to be a greater influence on my writing than Dr. Irving. Thank goodness."
--from My Movie Business
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