Jonathan's Reviews > In One Person

In One Person by John Irving
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Jan 29, 12

I am the editor and publisher of this novel. Here's what I think about it:

We use the word "great' so often that we've degraded its meaning. Great haircut! Great idea! Great casserole! So what can I say, without committing sins of hyperbole, about an author who truly does possess greatness?

IN ONE PERSON is John Irving's thirteenth novel. Having closely read all of the others, I can say with some confidence that it is as relevant to our time and as satisfying a story as were THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, and A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY when they were published.

Like those works, IN ONE PERSON addresses the search for identity and connection in a world that is not always tolerant of unconventional people. John Irving has long been a champion for sexual freedom. In this novel, his portrait of the life and loves of a bisexual man, and the mutability of gender and desire, will be a revelation for some and an affirmation for others.

The novel is dedicated to Tony Richardson, a noted film director who brought THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE to the screen. In his memoir, Richardson wrote this about John Irving's fiction: "He seems to me to be one of the most original and towering of contemporary writers. He is a born storyteller in the tradition of Fielding and Dickens, with, like them, an ability to see his characters from the well as depicting their feelings and passions physically from the outside....I predict that John's courage and the range of his universe will still be durable when many of his more intellectually acclaimed rivals will have dwindled away."

I hope you will experience IN ONE PERSON as deeply as I have. If you've never read John Irving before, this novel is an entertaining and enriching way to begin. If you've read him before, welcome back. You will once again marvel at the craft and imagination and probity of a great American writer.
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Greta I love Irving and his characters and I became just as entranced in this book. However, towards the end I felt it just got ridiculous and undermined the impact of the story. Honestly, that many sexual identity issues in one class??? Why did Irving take it in that direction? Sadly, I found it to be counterproductive.

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