David Gillespie's Reviews > A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
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Feb 09, 11


Published in 1989, John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany is the story of the friendship between the narrator, John Wheelwright, and the diminutive Owen Meany. The story is told from the present day as Wheelwright looks back to his New Hampshire childhood and youth from a self-imposed Canadian exile. As Irving shuffles the chronology of events, the story of their friendship unfolds. As the story progresses, Irving tackles themes such as the United States involvement in Vietnam, and the role of religion and God in our lives. Some readers may find the religious aspects off putting as the novel is told from a pro Judeo-Christian point of view. If the reader can get past this aspect, they will find a novel that is filled with vivid three dimensional characters and brilliant use of foreshadowing. Irving never loses sight of the humanity of these characters while extrapolating on his larger themes. Instead, he integrates these characters into the big picture and delivers a tale loaded with his trademark mix of absurdist humor, tragedy, and humanism. In terms of my own writing, I aspire to be able to create such lively characters within the context of a background made of such large thematics.
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