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The Water-Method Man Mass Market Paperback – June 13, 1990

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The Water-Method Man + The Hotel New Hampshire + The World According to Garp
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 13, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345367421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345367426
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Brutal reality and hallucination, comedy and pathos. A rich, unified tapestry" Time "John Irving, it is abundantly clear, is a true artist. He is not afraid to take on great themes" Los Angeles Times "John Irving has been compared with Kurt Vonnegut and J. D. Salinger, but is arguably more inventive than either" The Times "Three or four times as funny as most novels" The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

8 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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.

For more information about the author, please visit www.john-irving.com

Customer Reviews

If your into toilet humor and bad taste, this one is for you.
I rarely read any book twice (because there are just so many other books to read), but this is one that I definitely will.
J Davis
I actually remember very little of the plot, not much of the characters.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Irving novel I read--almost 10 years ago, at the age of 16--and as much as I love Garp, Owen Meany, and other Irving novels I have since read, Water-Method Man continues to be my favorite. First, few books make me laugh out loud. This is one of them. It's also one of the three books I don't go anywhere without. More importantly, it's a book about growing up (whether you want to or not), about taking responsibility for your past mistakes, and about having the courage to get at the root of your problems so that you can stumble, however blindly, toward what the future might bring you. The writing is brilliant. It is true that the chapters go back and forth in time; however, this is done to underscore the fact that Bogus Trumper is about to repeat some of his most disastrous mistakes. And if the chapters detailing Merrill's attempt to teach Bogus to ski and Bogus's "duck-hunting" escapade can't make you laugh, nothing can. Definitely a book for the reader who wants to think--and laugh. Enjoy!
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By David Benioff on January 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My sister so loved the hero of this novel, Bogus Trumper, that she named her cat after him. And while I'm not a fan of the cat, I do love this novel. No other book has made me laugh so hard. One scene in particular had me gasping for breath (I won't ruin it by describing it-- suffice it to say that it involves a prophylactic and attempted infidelity and that you will know it when you come to it).
The Water-Method Man is far from perfect; I don't suppose it will hold up as well as The World According to Garp. But some books you love despite all their flaws and limitations. God knows John Irving made me very happy for a while.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
To emulate a memorable character from a novel written by one of John Irving's favorite authors..."Does one 'sniff' a hint of Robertson Davies's multilayering of plot? Perhaps a bit of Buechner's comedic wit? I believe so."
Now, with that said, I'll just come out and say what I feel--"The Water-Method Man" is an often grotesque, but consistently hilarious book. Rarely do I laugh audibly while reading a novel. I did so a lot while reading "The Water-Method Man."
In "The Water-Method Man" (his second novel) Irving made a gigantic leap in plot complexity from his first novel, "Setting Free the Bears" (also a favorite of mine). "Bears" had largely a tripartite soul as far as its plot went--nice and neat. "The Water-Method Man" is a masterpiece of nonlinear, multi-plotline story telling.
Again, more than anything, this book is FUNNY (yep...all caps funny). Even the chapter headings are humorous. A few examples: "Prelude to the Last Stand"; "One Long Mother of a Day"; Slouching Towards Overturf" "Another Dante, A Different Hell."
The characters of "The Water-Method Man" really do come to life. Biggie, Couth, Dante, Arnold Mulcahy and Tulpen will all stick in the reader's mind for a long time to come.
The Trumper--Thump-Thump--Fred--Bogus character is hard not to like even at his most despicable. This could almost be a parable about the kind of trouble we humans seem to get into without fail when we have no real help outside of ourselves.
The character of Merrill Overturf is sure to strike a cord with anyone who has ever been a little "off" in their formative years.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Margot on July 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love to read but I'm not an intellectual, so my review will be brief.

I read this book in college (1984) and have kept it over the years, re-reading it whenever the urge for a little "Bogus" appears. I laughed so hard in my dorm room that my friend (a non-fiction-reading geology major) asked to borrow the book when I was through. Twenty years later, we still reference parts of the book when we're together.

Though I'm not a huge movie buff, I've always wondered why this didn't get made into a motion picture. Of course, John Cusack is too old now to play Bogus, but I've always thought he had a kind of vacancy in his face that would be perfect for the role; he also has the charm, which Bogus obviously must have to attract the women he does.

John Irving writes about flawed men in a way that makes me think he was once a woman, or (surprise) he's a man who's very in touch with his own weaknesses. Being a woman, I appreciate the honesty (and the humor).
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By lazza on June 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading The Water-Method Man is akin to watching a very early (pre-Annie Hall) woody Allen film. Funny, a bit outrageous for its time, and fascinating to compare to later (and better) works. The Water-Method Man is very much like Garp (30 year old man struggling with adulthood), and has a lot of similarity to Hotel New Hampshire (many quirky stories set in Vienna). It wouldn't take a rocket scientest to assume all of these novels have some basis in Irving's own experiences and psyche. The end product is a humorous yet superficial read. Folks expecting a rich, memorable story (as found in Owen Meany and Son of a Circus) should look elsewhere.
For those unfamiliar with John Irving novels, The Water-Method Man will appeal to men (it's a bit sexist but far from vulgar), and those who can remember the "free spirit" days of the late 60s/early 70s. John Irving fans, especially those with a soft spot for Garp, should definitely place this book on their must read list. I personally found it to be equal, if not better, than Garp in every way.
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