Bonnie's Reviews > Last Night in Twisted River

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
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's review
Aug 26, 2012

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bookshelves: literary-fiction, audiobooks
Read on August 26, 2012

Okay... I gave this three stars, not because in is an average book. but because it is a very bad book wrapped in a very good book (or perhaps the other way around.)

I love John Irving, even the lesser works, so I expect things to be self-referntial and even self-indulgent. Actually if I were to read a John Irving book without bears, adolescents having sex with older women, abortions, wrestling, and East Coast boarding schools I expect I would be very disappointed. But this book is so clunky. Irving tries to do way too much. He brings in too many characters, too many themes, and writes characters he doesn't know. (Ketchum, wow, what an ass -- an illiterate logger who quotes Kafka. Ugh!). Then there are the cutsie writerisms. When Daniel is at his peak in his writing he is always called "The Writer Danny Angel." Every time. When Danny isn't productive he is just "Daniel." Ketchum is generally identified as "The Log Driver", or the "Former Log Driver," Dominic (or Tony) is "Cookie." I get that he is defining a man by what he does rather than by his name, but give it a freaking rest! The women are all ciphers, Rosie, Carmela, Six-Pack Pam are no more than catalysts. This is even more true of the women here than those in other Irving books, and that is a pretty high (or low) standard. Also there are the inconsistencies. Long passages on how Dominic and Ketchum get to a point where they no longer miss Rosie are inconsistent with Ketchum's ongoing desire to cut off his hand (which has a lot to do with Rosie). The healing power of children theme is incosistent with the rejection of a plan to have further children when healing is needed most. The blue Mustang and Lady Sky bits of magical realism are flat-out idiotic and poorly integrated. The core story though is good, and the characters of Dominic and Danny are good ones. And I like the Father-Son aspect a great deal. This could have been so good. As Ketchum would say (and does say over and over and over again), "piles of moose-shit Danny!"

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