Irving’s novels are peopled with imaginative, surprising, and memorable characters. Juan Diego and his sister, Lupe, scavengers living in a Oaxacan dump, are no exception. Now an adult, Juan Diego reflects back on his life. A story of growing older, memories, and dreams, this absorbing tale reminds us how the past remains a vital connection to our present. Recommended By Michal D., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
John Irving returns to the themes that established him as one of our most admired and beloved authors in this absorbing novel of fate and memory. As we grow older -- most of all, in what we remember and what we dream -- we live in the past. Sometimes, we live more vividly in the past than in the present. As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. An aura of fate had marked him, John Irving writes, of Juan Diego. The chain of events, the links in our lives -- what leads us where we're going, the courses we follow to our ends, what we don't see coming and what we do -- all this can be mysterious, or simply unseen, or even obvious. Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past -- in Mexico -- collides with his future.
"Once again, Irving’s lyrical writing grabs readers from the first page." Library Journal
"Juan Diego’s memories of adolescence around 1970 in Oaxaca compose some of the most charming scenes that Irving has ever written. He’s still an unparalleled choreographer of outrageous calamities that exist somewhere between coincidence and fate…. Those conflicting currents of spirituality flowing through Avenue of Mysteries add to Irving’s rich exploration of faith in several earlier novels." Washington Post
"An empathically imagined, masterfully told, and utterly transporting tale of transcendent sacrifice and perseverance, unlikely love, and profound mysteries." Booklist (starred review)
John Irving returns to the themes that established him as one of our most admired and beloved authors in this absorbing novel of fate and memory.
In Avenue of Mysteries, Juan Diego--a fourteen-year-old boy, who was born and grew up in Mexico--has a thirteen-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she thinks she sees what's coming--specifically, her own future and her brother's. Lupe is a mind reader; she doesn't know what everyone is thinking, but she knows what most people are thinking. Regarding what has happened, as opposed to what will, Lupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you.
Lupe doesn't know the future as accurately. But consider what a terrible burden it is, if you believe you know the future--especially your own future, or, even worse, the future of someone you love. What might a thirteen-year-old girl be driven to do, if she thought she could change the future?
As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. As we grow older--most of all, in what we remember and what we dream--we live in the past. Sometimes, we live more vividly in the past than in the present.
Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past--in Mexico--collides with his future.
About the Author
John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times -- winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story "Interior Space." In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person. An international writer -- his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages -- John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.