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Until I Find You: A Novel

by

Until I Find You: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781400063833
ISBN10: 1400063833
Condition:
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"According to his mother, Jack Burns was an actor before he was an actor, but Jack's most vivid memories of childhood were those moments when he felt compelled to hold his mother's hand. He wasn't acting then."

So begins John Irving's eleventh novel, Until I Find You — the story of the actor Jack Burns. His mother, Alice, is a Toronto tattoo artist. When Jack is four, he travels with Alice to several North Sea ports; they are trying to find Jack's missing father, William, a church organist who is addicted to being tattooed. But Alice is a mystery, and William can't be found. Even Jack's memories are subject to doubt.

Jack Burns goes to schools in Canada and New England, but what shapes him are his relationships with older women. John Irving renders Jack's life as an actor in Hollywood with the same richness of detail and range of emotions he uses to describe the tattoo parlors in those North Sea ports and the reverberating music Jack heard as a child in European churches.

The author's tone — indeed, the narrative voice of this novel — is melancholic. ("In increments both measurable and not, our childhood is stolen from us — not always in one momentous event but often in a series of small robberies, which add up to the same loss.") Until I Find You is suffused with overwhelming sadness and deception; it is also a robust and comic novel, certain to be compared to John Irving's most ambitious and moving work.

Review:

"Actor Jack Burns seeks a sense of identity and father figures while accommodating a host of overbearing and elaborately dysfunctional women in Irving's latest sprawling novel (after The Fourth Hand). At the novel's onset (in 1969), four-year-old Jack is dragged by his mother, Alice, a Toronto-based tattoo artist, on a year-long search throughout northern Europe for William Burns, Jack's runaway father, a church organist and 'ink addict.' Back in Toronto, Alice enrolls Jack at the all-girls school St. Hilda's, where she mistakenly thinks he'll be 'safe among the girls'; he later transfers to Redding, an all-boy's prep school in Maine. Jack survives a childhood remarkable for its relentless onslaught of sexual molestation at the hands of older girls and women to become a world-famous actor and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. Eventually, he retraces his childhood steps across Europe, in search of the truth about his father — a quest that also emerges as a journey toward normalcy. Though the incessant, graphic sexual abuse becomes gratuitous, Irving handles the novel's less seedy elements superbly: the earthy camaraderie of the tattoo parlors, the Hollywood glitz, Jack's developing emotional authenticity, his discovery of a half-sister and a moving reunion with his father. Agent, Janet Turnbull Irving. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"With Jack Burns, Irving has created his most complex protagonist....And in the long, winding, complex and moody narrative that is Until I Find You, Irving has fashioned a real heart-stopper of a story — and one of his finest novels to date." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Review:

"Some novels are simply too long, and this is one of them. The framework of the plot cannot support so much detail and so many prolonged scenes....[B]y a third of the way through this almost impenetrable tale, no one will care." Booklist

Review:

"Irving's 11th novel may disappoint longtime fans — this is a quieter, more contemplative journey than his previous works, requiring some patience and reflection....[A] rewarding and meaningful experience." Library Journal

Review:

"[T]he book's second half is so much more lively, you can't help but wish Irving had packed even bigger chunks of Hollywood into this jumbo volume....[T]he results are worth reading even if they end up filling only half a book. (Grade: B-)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"[A] bloated and lugubrious new novel....Jack's 'melancholic logorrhea' might yield some useful therapeutic results, but in terms of storytelling, it makes for a tedious, self-indulgent and cruelly eye-glazing read." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"At more than 800 pages, Until I Find You takes the crown for the best longest novel of recent years....Irving lays on a lot of charming comedy." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"It does go on and on, and someone, somewhere in the production line at Garp Enterprises, Ltd., should have advised John Irving not to rush to print until he'd crafted pain into art, as he's done so masterfully before." Marianne Wiggins, The Washington Post

Review:

"All in all, this is a wonderfully thought-provoking book. Despite its length and heft (I was afraid of dropping it on my foot), its artistry is so compelling that I'm considering reading it again. How weird is that?" Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"On the surface, the book seems to be a galloping sexual bildungsroman. And yet, beneath the farce, a slow undercurrent of sorrow makes itself felt....[There] might be [an] intriguing 300-page novel secreted inside this sprawling, uneven one." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"As Jack Burns matures, so does the book....This is a novel worth reading all the way through." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Review:

"The last 300 or so pages of Until I Find You are marvelous, and the twists and turns as Jack pursues his final search are believable and touching. The main problem is with the long middle of the novel in which Jack seems not only to have forgotten his father, but to have lost himself." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"[A] diluted story, a 350-page novel told in more than twice that space....The magical alchemy of plot, character and psychology that Irving brought to the best of his earlier tales is nowhere to be found." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[E]ven when, a good two-thirds of the way through, he finally did something that impressed me, I still found myself not liking this book very much, which disturbed me because of how much I admire Irving." San Jose Mercury News

Review:

"Until I Find You, an often stunningly visual novel, is burdened by bloat. One can easily imagine a pared-down, vivid film version." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"No John Irving novel is any easy read; he'd rather take the long way home than the easy path. Yet it's always an unpredictable journey, and once you emerge from the emotional briar patch, you find yourself sad that it's over, and ready to take the trip again." Rocky Mountain News

Synopsis:

Suffused with overwhelming sadness and deception, this 11th novel by the bestselling author — a chronicle of the life of an actor — is also a robust and comic novel, certain to be compared to Irving's most ambitious and moving work.

About the Author

John Irving has won an O. Henry Award, a National Book Award, and an Oscar. Until I Find You is his eleventh novel. He lives in Vermont and Toronto.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

mireille27, April 12, 2007 (view all comments by mireille27)
I have accidentally stumbled unto the best author and writer of any time. I 'found' A widow for one year at a restaurant in Zihuatenajo, Mexico that traded or gave away books. After careful deliberation I chose A widow for one year. After that I was hooked. I read The world according to Garp, then Until I find you. Now I am reading The Fourth Hand. John Irvings' dedication to detail, authentic character representation and comic relief is inspiring. 'Until I find you' is long, however in my opinion that is what makes it great. It often takes a lifetime to recover from our childhood. Had John Irving taken a shorter path, the authenticity of the story would be lost. The loss of innocence of any child is a life-long battle that leaves the child scarred and scared. Jack Burns' life is normal considering his childhood. I love that Mr Irving does not protect us emotionally from the characters. I absolutely hated Alice. I think Mr. Irving wanted us to hate her, not to forgive her, even when Jacks father William urges us to forgive. I did not want to forgive her. I truly felt for Jack. His mother acted selfishly and myopically. Only thinking of herself, even when she was sick, why not tell her son? Another aspect of this complex novel that I apprectiate is for the longest time we believe Alice. We are as blind as little Jack of the true nature of William. The often innacurate portrayal of absentee fathers or neglectful and abusive boyfriends is often the only side we hear in stories and in Life. The female perspective. We assume that Alice is correct. That she is the jilted young mom, left to fend for herself while her selfish boyfriend places gettting 'inked' in higher regard than her and their child.I especially appreciate that in the end, we get what we want; the reunion. Father and son, together at last. But it is not happy ending. It is a complicated ending that will go on long after the book is over. That is what I love. An ending that is satisfying but not necessarily easy.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
sandylcarlson, August 6, 2006 (view all comments by sandylcarlson)
Irving's novel beautifully and accurately describes the long-term effects of sex, sex-abuse, and lies on a child's sense of self. Jack Burns's attempt to repair the damage to his world and forgive the perpetrators and sensitively rendered in this novel. Thank you, John Irving.
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(13 of 52 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400063833
Author:
Irving, John
Publisher:
Random House (NY)
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Actors
Subject:
Fathers and sons
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;novel;tattoos;american;family;tattoo;coming of age;canada;tattoo artists;amsterdam;usa;contemporary;contemporary fiction;actors;literary;literature;american fiction;father;childhood;music;21st century;growing up;mothers and sons;sexual abuse;sex;e
Subject:
fiction;novel;tattoos;american;family;tattoo;coming of age;canada;tattoo artists;amsterdam;usa;contemporary;contemporary fiction;actors;literary;literature;american fiction;father;childhood;music;21st century;growing up;mothers and sons;sexual abuse;sex;e
Copyright:
Publication Date:
July 12, 2005
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
848
Dimensions:
9.48x6.58x1.67 in. 2.64 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Until I Find You: A Novel New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$25.75 In Stock
Product details 848 pages Random House - English 9781400063833 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Actor Jack Burns seeks a sense of identity and father figures while accommodating a host of overbearing and elaborately dysfunctional women in Irving's latest sprawling novel (after The Fourth Hand). At the novel's onset (in 1969), four-year-old Jack is dragged by his mother, Alice, a Toronto-based tattoo artist, on a year-long search throughout northern Europe for William Burns, Jack's runaway father, a church organist and 'ink addict.' Back in Toronto, Alice enrolls Jack at the all-girls school St. Hilda's, where she mistakenly thinks he'll be 'safe among the girls'; he later transfers to Redding, an all-boy's prep school in Maine. Jack survives a childhood remarkable for its relentless onslaught of sexual molestation at the hands of older girls and women to become a world-famous actor and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. Eventually, he retraces his childhood steps across Europe, in search of the truth about his father — a quest that also emerges as a journey toward normalcy. Though the incessant, graphic sexual abuse becomes gratuitous, Irving handles the novel's less seedy elements superbly: the earthy camaraderie of the tattoo parlors, the Hollywood glitz, Jack's developing emotional authenticity, his discovery of a half-sister and a moving reunion with his father. Agent, Janet Turnbull Irving. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "With Jack Burns, Irving has created his most complex protagonist....And in the long, winding, complex and moody narrative that is Until I Find You, Irving has fashioned a real heart-stopper of a story — and one of his finest novels to date."
"Review" by , "Some novels are simply too long, and this is one of them. The framework of the plot cannot support so much detail and so many prolonged scenes....[B]y a third of the way through this almost impenetrable tale, no one will care."
"Review" by , "Irving's 11th novel may disappoint longtime fans — this is a quieter, more contemplative journey than his previous works, requiring some patience and reflection....[A] rewarding and meaningful experience."
"Review" by , "[T]he book's second half is so much more lively, you can't help but wish Irving had packed even bigger chunks of Hollywood into this jumbo volume....[T]he results are worth reading even if they end up filling only half a book. (Grade: B-)"
"Review" by , "[A] bloated and lugubrious new novel....Jack's 'melancholic logorrhea' might yield some useful therapeutic results, but in terms of storytelling, it makes for a tedious, self-indulgent and cruelly eye-glazing read."
"Review" by , "At more than 800 pages, Until I Find You takes the crown for the best longest novel of recent years....Irving lays on a lot of charming comedy."
"Review" by , "It does go on and on, and someone, somewhere in the production line at Garp Enterprises, Ltd., should have advised John Irving not to rush to print until he'd crafted pain into art, as he's done so masterfully before."
"Review" by , "All in all, this is a wonderfully thought-provoking book. Despite its length and heft (I was afraid of dropping it on my foot), its artistry is so compelling that I'm considering reading it again. How weird is that?"
"Review" by , "On the surface, the book seems to be a galloping sexual bildungsroman. And yet, beneath the farce, a slow undercurrent of sorrow makes itself felt....[There] might be [an] intriguing 300-page novel secreted inside this sprawling, uneven one."
"Review" by , "As Jack Burns matures, so does the book....This is a novel worth reading all the way through."
"Review" by , "The last 300 or so pages of Until I Find You are marvelous, and the twists and turns as Jack pursues his final search are believable and touching. The main problem is with the long middle of the novel in which Jack seems not only to have forgotten his father, but to have lost himself."
"Review" by , "[A] diluted story, a 350-page novel told in more than twice that space....The magical alchemy of plot, character and psychology that Irving brought to the best of his earlier tales is nowhere to be found."
"Review" by , "[E]ven when, a good two-thirds of the way through, he finally did something that impressed me, I still found myself not liking this book very much, which disturbed me because of how much I admire Irving."
"Review" by , "Until I Find You, an often stunningly visual novel, is burdened by bloat. One can easily imagine a pared-down, vivid film version."
"Review" by , "No John Irving novel is any easy read; he'd rather take the long way home than the easy path. Yet it's always an unpredictable journey, and once you emerge from the emotional briar patch, you find yourself sad that it's over, and ready to take the trip again."
"Synopsis" by , Suffused with overwhelming sadness and deception, this 11th novel by the bestselling author — a chronicle of the life of an actor — is also a robust and comic novel, certain to be compared to Irving's most ambitious and moving work.
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