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Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400063841
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063840
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: A long, delicious trip to the land of Irving is hands-down the best way to begin the month of October. A trio of tragic events (though the prize for most hell-shocking goes to the third) exiles widower and camp cook Dominic Baciagalupo and his son Danny from a mid-century logging outpost called Twisted River. They leave behind the Bunyan-esque lumberjack Ketchum--a gruff, eccentric, dyed-in-the-wool Yankee--who remains their sole connection to the past. What's next neither father nor son knows: their rootless existence moves swiftly in and out of New England, tied ostensibly to jobs for Dominic and schools for Danny, but it seems one foot is always back in those New Hampshire woods. Theirs is a restless, richly observed journey, crowned by a reckoning no one could predict. Few writers can match John Irving's knack for denouement, and in Last Night in Twisted River, his extraordinary ending is made all the more powerful by a story that feasts on language, life, and love. --Anne Bartholomew

From Publishers Weekly

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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

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Customer Reviews

John Irving is one of the best authors.
donna misener
Although a good story, the characters were not strong, The story was too predictable and the plot too long to develop.
darrell cornelius
Don't get me wrong, I like the Irving world, but this book just feels like a reshuffling of it.
J. Bosiljevac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

244 of 260 people found the following review helpful By David Zimmerman VINE VOICE on September 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After a three novel fixation on sex both domestic and abroad, John Irving makes a triumphant return to the literary landscape of The World According to Garp (Modern Library) in his twelfth novel, "Last Night in Twisted River". Father Dominic Baciagalupo, a cook for a logging community, and his son Daniel are co-protagonists in a story about manhood, family, love, friendship, a whole lot of cooking, and of course sex (though the sexual exploits of the characters don't overwhelm the story). At first it's the world of logging that pulls you into the story, much as the waters of Twisted River pull young logger Angel Pope into an early death in the novel's first sentence.

The first section of the book, set in the 1950s in the far north of New Hampshire, is absolutely captivating. As with Irving's early novels, a bear plays an important and almost mythical role. The middle section follows Dominic and now writer Danny in an odyssey brought about by their last night in Twisted River, the events of which cause them to vacate the logging town. Unrepentant logger Ketchum, who remains in the woods, plays a significant role in both lives, despite trying to keep his distance. Like TS Garp, Danny becomes a novelist. In the last half of the book the writer struggles with the tragedies of his life - both accidental ("it's a world of accidents", warns his father) and arranged (despite the best efforts of the ever-vigilant Ketchum) - and with crafting novels, striking a balance between the autobiographical and the imagination. Again, the result sweeps you along in its current.
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174 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some John Irving books I have loved and immediately devoured, and others I haven't been able to get past page 50 on...so as much as I look forward to a new Irving novel, I'm never sure which type it will be. With "Last Night in Twisted River" I took a deep breath and dove in...and I made it half-way before I started skimming; it's just too much of the same old thing.

The main characters are father and son, Dominic and Danny Baciagalupo, who begin in a logging camp (Dominic is the cook) and flee to Boston when "something bad happens". If you've read John Irving before, you know that the "something bads" that he details (and I mean DETAILS) are never run-of-the-mill accidents or incidents. His plot lines are full of freak-of-nature occurrences and amazing coincidences. Irving actually self-parodies in this novel regularly, as he described Danny's burgeoning writing career. As an example he (as the omniscient narrator) states: "...in any novel written with a reasonable amount of forethought, there were no coincidences." Again making fun of himself he writes: "...extreme details were mere indulgences the more mature writer would one day outgrow." Ha.

Present here, as with all Irving novels, you have several thoroughly researched and detailed accounts of setting and industry, such as the descriptions of the logging process in the 1950s, the workings of a logging camp, pizza making....

Also ever-present are some familiar Irving symbols such as the severed limbs, bears, older women sexually initiating boys too young, abortion, freak accidents, shallow women characters.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Decal on December 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read most if not all of John Irving's novels, and some of this book was really, really good. That's what makes this so frustrating. The main narrative kept getting bumped aside for long, self-indulgent rants on being a writer (a famous writer at that) which really made me want to put the book down and walk away. And, in typical Irving fashion, he spends a lot of pages trying to fit in a long winded political discussion that has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot. In some books, like A Prayer for Owen Meany, I could put up with all the tangents because the end result was brilliant. This time around, I'm not sure it was worth it.
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129 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Smytheville on August 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
True fans of John Irving will applaud this victory lap as the one-time wunderkind of contemporary literature comfortably enfolds himself in the mantle of elder statesman, having fun with his fans and critics along the way. Longtime Irving followers will enjoy seeing how he echoes past themes and trajectory of his own career in telling the story of Daniel Baciagalupo, aka Danny Angel, a novelist who scoffs at the media obsession with sorting the autobiographical elements of his fiction from that parts "that were `merely' made up." But yes, here's a fictional character who had much the same academic career as Irving (wrestling, prep school, university, Iowa Writer's Workshop, teaching venue), achieved bestsellerdom and prosperity with his fourth novel, tackled explosive political issues like abortion in his subsequent novels, got involved in movies, lived part-time in Canada, and so on. Part of the fun for fans is seeing how he departs from these familiar elements of his career and his fiction. The ominous "undertoad" from The World According to Garp is recast here as a blue Mustang automobile. The bears that figured so prominently in early Irving novels are waiting in the wings here, but left waiting as offstage characters only. Onstage, however, the key character of Injun Jane is cast in a scene that brought to mind one with Susie the Bear from The Hotel New Hampshire, although here the consequences kick the novel into high gear. The novel unfolds more deliberately than fans of earlier works may remember or prefer, dangling meaty morsels of plot but then diverting and eventually circling back later to fill in the blanks. The slower pace adds to the richness of the experience, though, and Irving's trademark vivid characters, earthy dialog, and baroque plot twists do not disappoint.Read more ›
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