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In One Person by John Irving
  

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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 all kinds of differences. We see the changing attitude, politically, culturally and sexually over half a century. The eighties and nineties with the ravages of AIDS and its affect on families and society are particularly strong. This is a very fine novel indeed, highly recommended.

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

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Synopsis

In One Person by John Irving

Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a 'sexual suspect', a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 - in his landmark novel of 'terminal cases', The World According to Garp . His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany , John Irving's In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy's friends and lovers - a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself 'worthwhile'.


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Reviews

'This wonderful novel is an epic, moving survey of 70 years of sexual revolution' The Times

'Deeply enjoyable... a comic celebration of polymorphous perversity, and of literature' Guardian

'Irving has rarely written with the gorgeous poise and control he musters here' Financial Times

'In One Person gives a lot. It's funny, as you would expect. It's risky in what it exposes. Tolerance, in a John Irving novel is not about anything goes; it's what happens when we face our own desires honestly, whether we act on them or not' -- Jeanette Winterson

'A brave and hugely affecting depiction of how in one life (sexual and otherwise) we contain multitudes' Elle

About the 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.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st March 2013

Author

John Irving

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Author's Website

john-irving.com/

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Publisher

Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
624 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
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Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

ISBN

9780552778442

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