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The Hotel New Hampshire (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (June 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034541795X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345417954
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A hectic, gaudy saga with the verve of a Marx Brothers movie.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A startlingly original family saga that combines macabre humor with Dickensian sentiment.”—Time

“Rejoice! John Irving has written another book according to your world. . . . You must read this book.”—Los Angeles Times

“Spellbinding . . . intensely human . . . a high-wire act of dazzling virtuosity.”—Cosmopolitan

From the Publisher

12 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times-winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. He also received an O. Henry Award, in 1981, for the short story "Interior Space." 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. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Last Night in Twisted River is John Irving's twelfth novel.

Customer Reviews

It has a really good story behind it and the characters are very complex and interesting to read about.
This novel, however, was just too much--too much of the ridiculously and thinly wrought out characters--and as several others have pointed out--too much cutesy-ness.
Sarah Mabel
He describes normal situations in a way that makes them grandiose and has wonderful characters that completely bring the story to life.
Amy C

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have really puzzled over some of the comments other reviewers have made about this book, and wonder if they read the same one I have read (and reread several times). First of all, Irving is known for his strange, evocative and surreal sensibilities; witness the bee sting killing in "Setting Free the Bears" or the ritual tongue-surgeries in "The World According to Garp". Criticizing him on that level means the reviewer is really not too familiar with the corpus of Irving's work, so probably doesn't "get" what it is Irving is saying. Also, it is in the face of such absurdities that all of us must, at least according to Irving, try to find the meaning and purpose of our own lives, like Garp or any of the other figures on the proverbial journeys he sets them on. Finally, Irving's duty isn't to just entertain the reader in a predictable way, but rather to play artfully with the notion that he can create a surreal world that in its own fashion represents a truer & more understandable world than the one we so drunkenly and absent-mindedly habituate every day. That's what some folks call art.
Given all that, perhaps it is more useful to try to discern what it is Irving is trying to say so artfully and colorfully in each of his novels, rather than compare one to another or make comparisons among them. I remember reading once that great novels were like fantastic gems, many of them flawed, but all of them brilliant, colorful, and beautiful to the well-trained eye. So viewed, so is this book brilliant, colorful, and beautiful.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I know that this is violating "reviewer guidelines," but the review that sparked this remark has done so to a much worse degree. Please do not read the review of Feb 4th titled "Good Lord" if you haven't read the book--the reviewer in his/her raging disappointment over the book has vehemently revealed just about every crucial plot turn of the book. Enough said!
The Hotel New Hampshire is not one of John Irving's best, it's true. There really are some elements that seem a bit too contrived, some characters a little too one-dimensional. Irving has really pushed his usually phenomenal ability to make the fantastic and bizarre palatable. However, it still shines as a cut above average fiction. It still pulls you into the story, no matter how reluctant you may be to go there. Irvings trademark mixture of tragedy and slapstick humor is in full swing, and you find yourself wondering, "how can I be laughing at this? How can I be reading this? It's ridiculous!!"
I say if you have read Irving before, it's not his best (Owen Meany and the The Water Method Man are top-notch), but I still say read it, you'll be glad--it's still John Irving. And if you haven't read this author, read it knowing that this is one of his lesser attempts, but still worth reading, as Irving at his worst is still one of the most talented writers I know
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "thedalailamar" on January 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of all, I would like to express my outrage at the reader who was disappointed that Irving's books are formulaic. Sure, he does reiterate himself somewhat in his novels, but what author doesn't? The "one-liners" that emerge from the stories will stay with me for the rest of my life. Especially that wonderful line from The Hotel New Hampshire, "Keep Passing the Open Windows." I have read all of Irving's works, and although I hold a great deal of admiration for each one, The Hotel New Hampshire is definitely my favorite. Irving simply developed his characters better in this book than any of his others. The story in this book- though obviously borrowing some of the antidotes in Garp- is original and amusing. The best thing about this book is that it is funny. Sure, all of his books are, BUT this is the funniest. My only critique is that Irving did not develop Lilly as much as he could have. Regardless, I loved this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone in need of a good laugh and a wonderful story.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Samara J. on April 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With The Hotel New Hampshire John Irving wrote one of his best books and one of my personal favorites. Although in every book several themes return (we already read about rape, wrestling and Vienna in The World According to Garp and the transsexuals from this book can also be found in A Son Of The Circus and the bears... well, you got the point now, I suppose), every work of John Irving is original, surrealistic and moving.
John Irving writes about people. And whether he writes about Owen Meany, Dhar or The Watermethod Man, he writes about life. All his characters are in a way eccentric and bizarre, but always understandable and just normal people. Irving describes their lives, their thoughts, their emotions and so tries to find the meaning and purpose of our own lives.
Irving's books are in that way portraits, but not just portraits. It are portraits of colorful people, absurd, but still in a way being like us. We can see ourselves in the eyes of Irving's main characters. And that's, beside his wonderful writing style and humor, what I like about Irving and especially about "The Hotel New Hampshire", a fresh and imaginative dive in the wonderful world of John Irving.
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