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A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel Paperback – April 3, 2012
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The book's mystic religiosity is steeped in Robertson Davies's Deptford trilogy, and the fatal baseball relates to the fatefully misdirected snowball in the first Deptford novel, Fifth Business. Tiny, symbolic Owen echoes the hero of Irving's teacher Günter Grass's The Tin Drum--the two characters share the same initials. A rollicking entertainment, Owen Meany is also a meditation on literature, history, and God. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
For more information about the author, please visit www.john-irving.com
Top Customer Reviews
Predestination, faith, doubt, politics, love, hate, family, friendship...these are all themes that make appearances in this book. Furthermore, it is a page-turner that is impossible to put down, right from the start. I read the entire second half of the book in one marathon reading session, wasting an entire morning because I couldn't bear to stop, knowing that more revelations were in store. I've read some of Irving's other novels, and loved them all, but I think "A Prayer for Owen Meany" has been the best so far.
It took me one or two sections to understand Irving's style. He likes to jump around a lot, and as the story is written as a memoir, that is certainly understandable. But Johnny Wheelwright (the narrative voice of the story) wants to tell us too much, too fast, and it doesn't all make sense at first. Only one thing is clear from the beginning: Owen Meany is destined to change Johnny's life.
Owen and Johnny are friends in New Hampshire in the 1950s. They have a unique bond which due in part to Owen's extraordinary presence. The dwarfed child has a strange voice that chills most people (including Johnny's grandmother), but he also has an adult-like wisdom and understanding. The bond between Owen and Johnny is sealed by a freak accident when Owen hits a baseball, killing Johnny's mother.
As they grow up, it becomes clear to Johnny that Owen thinks he is guided by God. The accident with Johnny's mother is just one incident that ultimately will lead Johnny to find his own faith.
There are moments of biting humor in the novel as well as moments of sadness. Although the majority of the story centers on Johnny's childhood, it continues through his high school and college years. As expected for the setting, Kennedy and the Vietnam War become important themes throughout the story.
There are also moments when Johnny -- writing the novel in 1987 -- steps out of character to tell the reader in a diary-like fashion about his life in the present as a teacher.Read more ›
Standard Complaints Made By Many: It's slow to start, has too much detail, not enough "action," blah blah blah. My response to skeptics is this: John Irving is a writer strongly influenced by Dickens and, as such, his storytelling has a leisurely, near-Victorian quality to it. His is old-fashioned writing but never BAD writing. The first chapter of "Owen Meany" consists mostly of historical details. This high level of detail sets up the events outlined in the remainder of the book and is absolutely essential to the storytelling. Having trouble getting through the first 75 pages? Hey, take your ritalin and remember that books require a committment on the part of the reader and are supposed to move at a different, slower pace than that of television or of the movies.
And speaking of movies, if you loved "Simon Birch," you will hate "Owen Meany." That nauseating film--that travesty of a movie--bears as much resemblance to the book as Demi Moore's "Scarlet Letter" does to Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a very good book. Lots of descriptions. Enjoyed reading it. It just seemed to move a little slow sometimes.Published 7 days ago by Linda Alley
John Irving is one of my all-time favorite writers and this book did not disappoint (I read it for the first time years ago and read it again on my kindle recently). Mr. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Kelli L.
John Irving is, of course, a gifted writer; his sense of humor is such a joy to me. However, in my opinion, "A Prayer for Owen Meany" is not one of his best works. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Kathleen W
Such a slow paced book. Apparently it's somewhat worth it when you get to the end but i couldn't make it. I quite 2/3 the way through this very long book filled. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Norbert
Difficult to get into the book, once halfway through I was hooked. Great story of friendship,loyalty, and love.Published 14 days ago by CapGem
This book is amazing, just like the other reviews say. However, I initially bought it for my friend's 2 adolescent boys but decided to read it before I passed it on to her. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Kimberly H. Smith
The characters in this book will stay with you. It is about love, loyalty, friendship, being different, being who you are, forgiveness and honesty. A really wonderful book.Published 17 days ago by Gloria Mitchell