To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
|New from||Used from|
Irving packs wild characters and weird events into his classic--officially recognized as such in a Modern Library edition with a new introduction by the author--while amazingly maintaining the rough feel of realism in every scene and the pulse of life in every heart. Many novelists of his time might have populated a novel with a novelist protagonist whose life and books comment on each other and the novel we're reading. Transsexual football players, ball turret gunners lobotomized in battle, multiple adultery, unicycling bears, mad feminists who amputate their tongues in sympathy with the celebrated victim of a horrifying rape--Irving made them all people. Even the bear is a fitting character.
In a crucial episode, Garp's wife's seduction of a young man coincidentally occurs at the moment when Garp is delighting their young sons with a reckless car trick (one of the few scenes beautifully, eerily, heartbreakingly captured in the film version as well). Many authors would have been content with the harsh comedy of the scene, but Irving respects its integrity, and he builds the rest of the book on the consequences of the event. How does he get away with his killer cocktail of slapstick and horror? Because it's simply what we all face daily, rearranged into soul-satisfying art. "Life is an X-rated soap opera," according to Garp, and who can contradict him?
Rereading Garp 20 years later, one is struck by how elegantly Irving structures his bizarre and complex story. Take the two most celebrated bits in the book, the Under Toad and Garp's story "The Pension Grillparzer," which shimmers like an exquisite Kafkaesque insect in the amber of the novel. When Garp warns his son about the "undertow" at the beach, the boy imagines a monster out of Beowulf who lurks beneath the waves to suck you under: the "Under Toad." It's funny at first, but we soon find that the Under Toad is a metaphor with teeth--he connects with a prophetic dream of death in "The Pension Grillparzer," set in Vienna. Garp's son's last words are, "It's like a dream!" And as Irving--who studied at the University of Vienna--can certainly tell you, the German word for "death" sounds precisely like the English word "toad."
All that death, and yet Garp is mainly exuberant. This story is, as Garp's stuttering writing teacher puts it, "rich with lu-lu-lunacy and sorrow." It enriches literature, and our lives. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"you don't have any problems so you can make fun of poor people who do!" One of my favorite lines in the book and describes how I felt about all the problems presented in... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Mohammed S.
Love this book. It is a great story of interesting characters and it stays with you.Published 16 days ago by Shopper Friend
Lovely story about not so lovely social phenomena, written smart and funny.
p.s. not for feminists only :)
Halfway through the 688 pages of this book, I felt a revulsion and hated it. The characters where nowhere realistic, or acting in a realistic way. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Giant Panda
This was a re read. I had given my first copy to my oldest son; now a father worrying about his own child. Quirky, emotionally spot on. I love this book.Published 1 month ago by Marjorie L. Durning
One of my favorite John Irving books-masterful and amazing from the moment you start until, sadly, you reach the end. Read morePublished 1 month ago by dweeb
My favorite John Irving novel! Almost makes me want to watch the movie from '82 ... almost.Published 2 months ago by Amanda M
I first read John Irving's "The Cider House Rules." I absolutely loved it! Based upon that book, I decided to check out his other works. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Holly