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John Irving Book and Novel

John Irving - Author


John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942, and he once admitted that he was a 'grim' child. Although he excelled in English at school and knew by the time he graduated that he wanted to write novels, it was not until he met a young Southern novelist named John Yount, at the University of New Hampshire, that he received encouragement. 'It was so simple,' he remembers. 'Yount was the first person to point out that anything I did except writing was going to be vaguely unsatisfying.'

In 1963, Irving enrolled at the Institute of European Studies in Vienna, and he later worked as a university lecturer. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, about a plot to release all the animals from the Vienna Zoo, was followed by The Water-Method Man, a comic tale of a man with a urinary complaint, and The 158-Pound Marriage, which exposes the complications of spouse-swapping. Irving achieved international recognition with The World According to Garp, which he hoped would 'cause a few smiles among the tough-minded and break a few softer hearts'.

The Hotel New Hampshire is a startlingly original family saga, and The Cider House Rules is the story of Doctor Wilbur Larch - saint, obstetrician, founder of an orphanage, ether addict and abortionist - and of his favourite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted. A Prayer for Owen Meany features the most unforgettable character Irving has yet created. A Son of the Circus is an extraordinary evocation of modern day India. John Irving's latest and most ambitious novel is A Widow for One Year.

A collection of John Irving’s shorter writing, Trying to Save Piggy Sneed, was published in 1993. Irving has also written the screenplays for The Cider House Rules and A Son of the Circus, and wrote about his experiences in the world of movies in his memoir My Movie Business.

Irving has had a life-long passion for wrestling, and he plays a wrestling referee in the film of The World According to Garp. In his memoir, The Imaginary Girlfriend, John Irving writes about his life as a wrestler, a novelist and as a wrestling coach. He now writes full-time, has three children and lives in Vermont and Toronto.

If you like John Irving you might also like to read books by William Kowalski, Tim O'brien and John Updike.

Featured Books, with extracts, by John Irving

In One Person by John Irving
In One Person
John Irving
Sarah Broadhurst's view... Bisexual Billy looks back on his life from a confused teenager to the present where he is 68. Both poignant and extremely funny, Irving explores why some people remain bigots and others are more open to...
Format: Paperback - Released: 01/03/2013
In One Person by John Irving
In One Person
John Irving
May 2012 Book of the Month. Picking up on the term 'a sexual suspect' Irving first used in his landmark novel The World According to Garp, In One Person is the...
Format: Hardback - Released: 10/05/2012
Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
Last Night in Twisted River
John Irving
John Irving does not disappoint in this tale of a father and son, spanning 50 years of their relationship at the end of the twentieth century. This is his twelfth novel and although familiar Irving themes are there it is...
Format: Paperback - Released: 12/06/2010
The World According to Garp - Special Limited Edition by John Irving
The World According to Garp - Special Limited Edition
John Irving
A family saga and a half! Garp’s world is unusual and surreal and incredibly normal all at the same time but this is a trick John Irving manages to bring to many of his novels. A brilliant read, it will...
Format: Hardback - Released: 02/07/2009
A Widow for One Year by John Irving
A Widow for One Year
John Irving
June 2014 Guest Editor Freya North on A Widow for One Year... This is a stunning novel by one of my favourite authors. Typical Irving, it’s the perfect blend of drama and bawdiness beautifully told. His heroine, Ruth Cole,...
Format: Paperback - Released: 13/03/1999
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
The Cider House Rules
John Irving
One of John Boyne's favourite books. Following Homer Wells as he grows up in an orphanage and finds himself learning the skills of cider making. Another gem from the pen of one the quirkiest and heartfelt authors of our...
Format: Paperback - Released: 01/07/1986
The World According to Garp by John Irving
The World According to Garp
John Irving
This is an extraordinary book, funny, surreal and, at times, heartbreakingly sad. It’s long, some 600 pages, and truly compulsive. Even if at times you are not sure quite what is happening, it has you spellbound. It’s about fatherhood, writing,...
Format: Paperback - Released: 01/07/1986

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