May 24, 2001, 6:06 a.m. CST
We have book reviews on AICN now? Ain't that cool?
May 24, 2001, 6:26 a.m. CST
by Wicked Willow
from way back-that was the first "grown-up" novel I read when I was younger and I've been a JI fan ever since. I wasn't too crazy about the WATG movie but compared to the Hotel New Hampshire(which completely missed the mark)movie,it holds up well. So far,the best film version I've seen of Irving's work has been Cider House Rules(I have it on DVD). A Widow For One Year was a beautiful book and I've been looking forward to The Fourth Hand ever since I saw it listed in the publisher's catalog(I work in a bookstore). Thank you,Moriaty for the advance preview and hope to see some more book talk here on AICN!
May 24, 2001, 6:52 a.m. CST
Garp was the first adult book I ever read, and I have been revisiting it every couple of years since it came out. John Irving is an american treasure.
May 24, 2001, 6:59 a.m. CST
does it have any incest in it? Irving seems to have a particular obsession with that taboo - Hotel New Hampshire, Owen Meany, Cider House, Widow, all have an incestuous element to them. At any rate, I think he's a phenomenal author and look forward to this new book/movie. And for the gentleman who dismissed Cider House movie as crap, my response is...huh? I loved the book, but there was a lot about it that I didn't like, such as the ending. When I saw the movie I was amazed to discover that everything that worked in the book stayed in, but everything that didn't (IMHO) was gone! A remarkable adaptation that gave me new respect for Irving, like I needed it.
May 24, 2001, 8:33 a.m. CST
Its nice to see a book review on AICN....I am a huge Irving Fan ever since I read Garp when I was about 14. I eagerly await the fourth hand, and I will keep my opinions until I finish the novel. You know if this was a regular talkback so-called "fans" and detractors would be bitchin about what a sellout Irving..etc. etc. etc..... How refreshing.
May 24, 2001, 9:03 a.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
I'll bet it'll be a generational touchstone for those of us who are The Last Boomers/First Xers.
May 24, 2001, 9:24 a.m. CST
by James K. Polka
It concerns me a little that the book wasn't satisfying in the end. From personal experience, Irving is one of my favorite authors because he is able to satisfy, wrapping everything up that needs to be wrapped up, and leaving loose what should be left loose. Like A Prayer For Owen Meany. That book was amazing in its ability to weave diverse elements into a story that felt tightly wound, but was still broad enough to feel natural and realistic. I'll definitely be picking up the new Irving when it comes out, and I'll be hoping that it doesn't leave me disappointed, like so much modern fiction does. "Unsatisying Irving" is generally a contradiction in terms.
May 24, 2001, 10:09 a.m. CST
It's nice to see a book review here. Like some others above, I too am a big John Irving fan. I can't wait for this book. Anyway, is it just me or was anyone else pissed off at the movie Simon Birch. I hated the way that movie ended. I felt like screaming, "THAT"S NOT HOW IT HAPPENED!!!" That movie is a total turd burger!
May 24, 2001, 11:06 a.m. CST
by Mel Garga
While I TEND not to agree with the liberal undertones of Irving's books, I can't help but be blown away by his writing. Garp is one of those books that grabs you from page one and doesn't let go. (I sound like one of the reviews on the inside cover.) Anyway, I thought Hill's movie did a good job of compacting the book into an interesting story, the best part being the cast. It seems funny now to watch the film and actually know that Williams was a "risky" choice. However, it is painful watching Lithgow's brilliant, hilarious performace knowing that he would some day be on a lousy shitcom. And Glenn Close did an excellent job as well. By the way, besides Irving, IMDB lists Hill having a cameo as the pilot of the plane that crashes into Garp's house. And books on AICN? How risque! Usually the only book discussed on this site is Lord of the Rings. (Not that that's a bad thing.)
May 24, 2001, 11:08 a.m. CST
by Johnny Storm
Owen Meany is a fantastic book. But I loved Simon Birch as well. Was expecting to see "Son of the Circu" turned into a movie. What happened with that?
May 24, 2001, 11:16 a.m. CST
and I'm not talking about the movie. I assume his other novels must be better by leaps and bounds, to warrant the praise I'm always hearing for his work. Sure, he can turn a phrase, but his narrative line is all over the place and his transitions are crap. One minute you're with one character in a place, and then you're suddenly in another with someone else, for no discernible reason. I suppose I should try one of his earlier works, but I can't quite muster the interest. I'll just finish the latest Noam Cholmsky instead. Now there's someone important.
May 24, 2001, 1:43 p.m. CST
We're reporting live from the aftermath of the 3rd Annual Internet Pretention Awards where, in a stunning victory, the dark horse lizzybeth has just swept the talkback category. We're hoping to have a few words with her as she exits the auditor...there she is. Miss Beth, Miss Beth...exactly what was it that possessed you to not only express a marked preference for Noam Chomsky over John Irving on an AICN talkback, but to actually misspell Chomsky's name in doing so?
May 24, 2001, 2:54 p.m. CST
That post got the biggest laugh I had in a while here.
May 24, 2001, 3:21 p.m. CST
One of the film's memorable lines (which I don't think is in the book) has Roberta saying, "I got mine surgically removed under general anesthetic, but to have it bitten off in a Buick..." Roberta is, of course, speaking about his penis. Well, I'm pleased as punch to have a clean widescreen copy on DVD (of the film, that is, not his penis), but now the line is "I got mine surgically removed under general anesthetic, but to have it bitten off..." Lest we forever associate Buicks with penis-chomping, the name of the car has been removed from the DVD. Disgraceful. (And while we're on the subject of Irving, who else wants to see Water-Method Man made into a film?)
May 24, 2001, 6:01 p.m. CST
Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence, R.I. has been running a six-hour, two-part stage adaptation of the book. It runs till June 17. Not sure whether it originated in Providence or has played elsewhere, but here they're talking about it like it's the second coming of Eugene O'Neill. (oh, do I get a Talkback Pretension no-prize for referencing Eugene O'Neill?) For those interested, I would guess their website has info: http://www.trinityrep.com *** Interestingly, Irving did not adapt his book to the stage. Playwright Peter Parnell did.
May 25, 2001, 5:22 a.m. CST
It surprises me that noone has ever adapted The Water Method Man. It's so light and humorous, and it overlaps into the world of film, yet Hollywood has chosen to tackle Irving's complicated epics instead. Maybe now that Irving has become a brand-name (not necessarily a bad thing when compared to other brand-name authors), someone will cash in and make something good in the process.
May 25, 2001, 1:25 p.m. CST
I was on this site and noticed the John Irving reference and read the comments about Irving and his new book. And I was delighted to see the mention of the Cider House stage adaptation. I am currently working at Trinity Rep (in Providence, Rhode Island) and am in the production of Cider House currently running. Peter Parnell has done a wonderful job adapting the book for the stage. The project was helmed originally by Tom Hulce and Jane Jones. It sort of got its start at Seattle Rep. Then there was a full production of parts 1 and 2 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Then they took Part 1 to New York. I encourage anyone in the area to come see our production. Especially if you are a John Irving fan. It is a fabulous story.