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The World According to Garpby John Irving
Synopses & Reviews
The World According to Garp is a comic and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers of his generation. A worldwide bestseller since its publication in 1978, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, novelist and bastard son of Jenny Fields — a feminist leader ahead of her time. Beyond that, The World According to Garp virtually defies synopsis.
"Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it," said critic Terrence Des Pres. "Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous....Friendship, marriage and family are his primary themes, but at that blundering level of life where mishap and folly — something close to joyful malice — perpetually intrude and disrupt, often fatally. Life, in Irving's fiction, is always under siege." Time magazine commented: "Irving's popularity is not hard to understand. His world is really the world according to nearly everyone."
"A wonderful novel, full of energy and art." The Washington Post
"Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it.... Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous.... Brilliant, funny, and consistently wise; a work of vast talent." The New Republic
"The most powerful and profound novel about women written by a man in our generation.... A marvelous, important, permanent novel by a serious artist of remarkable powers." Chicago Sun-Times
"Absolutely extraordinary... Passionate, imaginative, daring... a world of laughter and violence, exhilaration and heartbreak, love and hate.... It is the best novel I have read in years." The Los Angeles Times
"Superb... It is not easy to find the words to convey the joy, the excitement, the passion... The imagination soars as Irving draws us inexorably into Garp's world....Swirling around Garp and his family are some of the most colorful characters in recent fiction." Publishers Weekly
"Brilliant....Like all great works of art, Irving's novel seems always to have been there, a diamond sleeping in the dark, shipped out at last for our enrichment and delight." Cosmopolitan
"Overwhelming... funny and serious, absurd and realistic, fast-moving and thoughtful....Buy two copies; you'll wear out the first with rereading." Pittsburgh Press
"A social tragic-comedy of such velocity and hilarity that it reads rather like a domestic sequel to Catch-22." The Observer (London)
This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields, a feminist leader ahead of her time. This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes, even of sexual assassinations. It is a novel rich with lunacy and sorrow, yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries — with more than ten million copies in print — this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: "In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."
About the Author
John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times-winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. A Prayer for Owen Meany was published in 1989. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules — a film with seven Academy Award nominations.
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