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Last Night in Twisted River

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Last Night in Twisted River

By John Irving

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Format: Paperback, 576 pages, Export ed Edition
Published In: United Kingdom, 19 October 2009
In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County - to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto - pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving's twelfth novel - depicts the recent half-century in the United States as 'a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course'. From the novel's taut opening sentence - 'The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long' - to its elegiac final chapter, Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical authenticity and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is also as violent and disturbing a story as John Irving's breakthrough bestseller, The World According to Garp. What further distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author's unmistakable voice - the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller. Near the end of this moving novel, John Irving writes: 'We don't always have a choice how we get to know one another. Sometimes, people fall into our lives cleanly - as if out of the sky, or as if there were a direct flight from Heaven to Earth - the same sudden way we lose people, who once seemed they would always be part of our lives'.

Promotional Information

A major new novel by one of America's grestest writers.

About the Author

John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times, winning it in 1980 for The World According to Garp. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules - a film with seven Academy Award nominations. Last Night in Twisted River is his twelfth novel.


Irving's 12th novel-following Until I Find You (2005), also available from Books on Tape and Random Audio-covers five decades in the lives of three highly memorable characters. Most of Irving's usual themes and icons appear here, from bears to wrestling to unseen fears, as he uses the character of a writer to define his own fiction writing process. Narrator Arthur Morey (The Ministry of Special Cases) shows an impressive grasp of the language in his reading of this father-son love story touched with loss and humor; he especially captures well the cantankerous logger Ketchum, who serves as the book's political compass. Long and demanding but highly worth it; recommended for contemporary fiction audiences. [The New York Times best-selling Random hc was described as being "interesting, funny, and original," LJ 11/1/09; the pb will release in June 2010.-Ed.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

'Irving's novels are not just page-turners. Time and again, he forces his readers to consider important social issues - war, rape, incest, the fragmentation of the family, feminism, the culture of celebrity - in a way reminiscent of Dickens ... Irving is peerless at presenting action, writing without a wasted second' Guardian 'The precision of Irving's voice, the raw urgency of his style, his sly interweaving of magic and mischief are all so resoundingly present, that one barely notices just how much they are there' Daily Express 'John Irving has been compared with Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger, but is arguably more inventive than either. Wry, laconic, he sketches his characters with an economy that springs from a feeling for words and mastery over his craft' The Times 'What [Irving] does better than anyone ... is create memorable characters. No-one is too incidental to warrant Irving's full attention. Every minor character is as well developed as a major one and detail is his trademark' Mirror

Irving (The World According to Garp) returns with a scattershot novel, the overriding themes, locations and sensibilities of which will probably neither surprise longtime fans nor win over the uninitiated. Dominic "Cookie" Baciagalupo and his son, Danny, work the kitchen of a New Hampshire logging camp overlooking the Twisted River, whose currents claimed both Danny's mother and, as the novel opens, mysterious newcomer Angel Pope. Following an Irvingesque appearance of bears, Cookie and Danny's "world of accidents" expands, precipitating a series of adventures both literary and culinary. The ensuing 50-year slog follows the Baciagalupos from a Boston Italian restaurant to an Iowa City Chinese joint and finally a Toronto French cafe, while dovetailing clumsily with Danny's career as the distinctly Irving-like writer Danny Angel. The story's vicariousness is exacerbated by frequent changes of scene, self-conscious injections of how writers must "detach themselves" and a cast of invariably flat characters. With conflict this meandering and characters this limp, reflexive gestures come off like nostalgia and are bound to leave readers wishing Irving had detached himself even more. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

EAN: 9781408802144
ISBN: 1408802147
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.3 centimetres (0.44 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
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If you love the earlier work of John Irving such as A Prayer For Owen Meany, The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp and others you'd be well advised to leave this one alone. It is nowhere near this author's best work and could best be described as really dreary and lifeless, nothing could breathe life into these characters. The story revolves around Dominic and Danny, father and son and includes their lives and loves over about half a century. The reality is that by the time you're half way through you no longer care what happens to either of them! Disappointing does not convey the lack of depth in this book which is destined to be quickly forgotten.

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