Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The 158-Pound Marriage (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 23, 1997
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
—Terrence Des Pres
"Irving looks cunningly beyond the eye-catching gyrations of the mating dance to the morning-after implications."
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
The 158-Pound Marriage is surely a black and ruthless book. And that is exactly what you would never expect from the author of The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany. Admittedly the novel starts with a crazy scene that only John Irving can dream up, but after the main characters are introduced the spirit of the story turns dark and moody. Irving keeps the irony alive, but gets hooked into the conflict between the two couples. Even the predominant playfulness between the sheets cannot lighten up the story. It drags the reader through a maze of moral questions and dilemma's.
The story is brilliantly written and again proof that John Irving is one of the greatest authors of our time. Personally I like the cheery and witty tone of his later novels (Marriage was his third novel) much more. This does not mean that they are not as deep and wicked as The 158-Pound Marriage, at the contrary, but they surely have less difficulties in keeping my attention focussed on the story.
We have some of the same plot elements that are seen again and again in Irving's works--life in Vienna, wife-swapping, wrestling, and prostitutes in Europe. The subject of Vienna is given a much more beautiful treatment in The Hotel New Hampshire, in my opinion.
Children are an afterthought in this novel. They were written in only when convienent and completely ignored when more adult matters were at hand.
The book is darkly tragic, more dark than other Irving novels. I didn't find the beauty of being human as a relief from the tragic undertones. Enjoy this if you are desperate for more Irving, but try some of his later works if you want a better read.
The 158-Pound Marriage (the title refers to a wrestling class) is John Irving's third novel - the one right before his break-out with Garp. It has many of his staples: Vienna, a wrestling coach, etc. The difference here is that it is a New England university town instead of a boarding school town.
This is one of Irving's most sexually-explicit novels. The couples hop in and out of bed with each other, and what they do there is pretty well detailed. Considering that this is an early novel, it is very short for Irving's standards. Also, he allows himself to go off on tangents more. The story is told by a first person narrator who is more-or-less free writing - not everything comes in scenes. This makes it occasionally difficult to tell what is happening when.
Yet, Irving's strong voice and skillful characterizations are already fully intact here - as is his sense of the outrageous. Fans will not be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book arrived quickly and in better condition than I expected for being used. I bought it as a gift for my husband. Read morePublished 17 months ago by GingerH
A John Irving book is almost always a delightful read. This was an earlier book, the one right before his major breakthrough which in turn was still a decade away from Owen Meany,... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Johnny B
kind of a weird tale about 2 couples swapping partners i love irving this is not his best workPublished on July 8, 2014 by paul weaver
I kept waiting for something to be redemptive in the story line. I know I'm a little naive, but I detested the main characters.Published on April 12, 2014 by Liam Shay
I love John Irving's books. Although there are themes which recur in his novels it's always interesting. The characters are beautifully flawed and human. Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by Judy Bokor
two husbands share their wives for sexual activity. the era could be the late 50s, or early to mid 60s, the time frame in which john updike showed us adultery in sight of... Read morePublished on January 14, 2014 by Case Quarter
Engaging read. Set in a New England university town during the 1970's "The 158-pound Marriage" explores the cause and effect of two married couples who decide to act on desires... Read morePublished on November 11, 2013 by Maurice Williams
This rather dark, short novel is set in a New England college town in the early sixties which focuses on a tortured wife-swapping arrangement involving the unnamed narrator a... Read morePublished on October 9, 2012 by J. Grattan
After reading John Irving's A Son Of The Circus a few months ago and enjoying it , I decided to read another of his books. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by ADAM