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The Cider House Rulesby John Irving
Synopses & Reviews
The Cider House Rules is set in rural Maine in the first half of this century. It tells the story of Homer Wells, an orphan who is raised and mentored by Wilbur Larch, the doctor at the orphanage. Dr. Larch teaches Homer everything about medicine. Yet though his capacity for kindness is saintly, Larch is also an ether addict. He and Homer come into conflict, which is typical of many father-son relationships, but in this case their conflict is intensified by their disagreement about abortion. The result is that Homer leaves the only family he has ever known.
Homer's new life provides more excitement than he could have imagined, especially when he falls in love for the first time. But, when forced to make decisions that will change the course of his future, Homer realizes that he can't escape his past. The Cider House Rules is ultimately about the choices we make and the rules that are meant to be broken.
"Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying." Joseph Heller
"Witty, tenderhearted, fervent, and scarifying....This novel is an example, now rare, of the courage of imaginative ardor." The New York Times Book Review
"John Irving's sixth and best novel....He is among the very best storytellers at work today. At the base of Irving's own moral concerns is a rare and lasting regard for human kindness." Philadelphia Inquirer
"Irving is in top form in this capacious novel of personal discovery....Deft realism in both scene and characterization...The Cider House Rules is a mature, entertaining novel." Library Journal
"An old-fashioned, big-hearted novel...with its epic yearnings caught in the 19th century, somewhere between Trollope and Twain....The rich detail makes for vintage Irving...straightforward and tender." Boston Sunday Globe
"A moving, sometimes hilarious, and unfailingly entertaining story." St. Petersburg Times
"John Irving is the most relentlessly inventive writer around...A truly astounding amount of artistry and ingenuity....Entertaining and affecting." San Diego Union
Raised from birth in the orphanage at St. Cloud's, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage...
First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is John Irving's sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch — saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch's favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.
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 Academy Award. Mr. Irving lives with his family in Toronto and Vermont.
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