Jenni's Reviews > A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
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's review
Mar 08, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

I'm reading this again after several years and I have to say it's still a great story. Last time I was in my late teens, and now I can appreciate the craft of his storytelling on a different level. First off, how he manipulates time, and does it so seamlessly is just amazing. One can learn a great deal about easing in and out of time periods from Irving because you barely notice the time shifts, even though they can be as large as a decade between paragraphs. For the first 100 or so pages, he moves around in time often, yet I don't notice it at all because these shifts are utterly invisible unless you are looking for them. This also gives the story an interesting tension, as the time shifts each build their own storylines and suspense, which is partly why the book is so hard to put down.

His prose isn't especially lyrical or experimental, but the voice is intriguing and the characters complex. Not to say there are not sentences that take your breath away--there are--but don't expect the lyrical quality of Fitzgerald. On the other hand, Irving's characters are more lifelike than most, and they easily become people you connect with and enjoy spending time.

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Comments (showing 1-2)

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Talia I too read this in my late teens--senior year English class I think. I remember it being an incredible book, and a very thick book which I flew through. I'd like to re-read it some day. Maybe use it in one of my class.

message 1: by Theresa (new)

Theresa Thanks for the reminder about this book, Jenni. I'm very interested in that issue of passage of time, switching back and forth between periods etc. - so I,too, will read it again.

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