In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County - to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto - pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving's twelfth ...
In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County - to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto - pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving's twelfth novel - depicts the recent half-century in the United States as 'a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course'. From the novel's taut opening sentence - 'The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long' - to its elegiac final chapter, Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical authenticity and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is also as violent and disturbing a story as John Irving's breakthrough bestseller, The World According to Garp. What further distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author's unmistakable voice - the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller. Near the end of this moving novel, John Irving writes: 'We don't always have a choice how we get to know one another. Sometimes, people fall into our lives cleanly - as if out of the sky, or as if there were a direct flight from Heaven to Earth - the same sudden way we lose people, who once seemed they would always be part of our lives'.
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John Irving is wonderful, of course and if you love his books, you will love this one. Why wouldn't you? He goes on and on about bears, (of course) and wrestling (of course) and kids dying (of course) and blow jobs in cars leading to kids dying ( of course), well, you get the idea.
They say that you write about what you know. As good a writer as Irving is, I really wish he'd gotten out a bit more.
It is a good story and if you have not read his other books you will be amazed at the scope and his mastery of language and storytelling. My only problem with this work is the utter crap he invokes concerning his political opinions. (Why? It isn't a part of the story.) He nearly ruins this with his rants the same way he ruined Owen Meany.
Okay, he's a master writer and this is a very good work. but if you are a fan and have read his other books you will find yourself yawning from time to time.
Nov 16, 2010
The World According to Irving
"An intricate, intimate and, at times, tedious examination of the life of a young, anxious writer. Little is left to the imagination as Mr. Irving covers the entire life and career of T.S. Garp?from conception to last breath?going so far as to include short stories and chapter excerpts from the character?s work (fictional fiction)."
The review I wrote for Life According to Garp years ago, can just as easily apply to John Irving?s latest offering, Last Night in Twisted River. Mr. Irving?s strengths are also his weaknesses. His characters are so meticulously fleshed out, down to the finest details, they hardly seem fictional at all. Often, however, this only serves to distract from the action and the story. That?s unfortunate because Last Night is a fine novel. Full of symbolism and portent, it is both more mature and more masculine than Garp ever hoped to be.
It?s not my favorite Irving novel, but is, perhaps, a fitting bookend to a distinguished career.
Jan 21, 2010
This book, as in all of Irving's books, has a host of characters that can become confusing at times, but all come together eventually.
It takes place in the far North New England area in a logging town. The story continues through the escape efforts of a father and son because of an accidental death of one character.
It is full of colorful detail and descriptions of people and places - again, one of Irvings predicatable traits.
I loved it as I have all of his books. It takes an imaginative, open minded person with a sense of humor to understand John Irving.
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