A Prayer for Owen Meany A Prayer for Owen Meany discussion


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If you liked Owen Meany....

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message 1: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben ...you should check out Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. Irving mentions this book, and Davies in general, in reverential terms in the narrative of Meany. However, when you read Fifth Business, you will see myriad parralels between the two to the point where I would consider Meany to be quite clearly an homage to Davies and Fifth Business


Fred they were both pretty good and i'm wracking my brain trying to remember which i read first. seems like organized religion played pretty heavily in OM, what do you see as the FB equivalent?


message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben I just finished FB, so it's a tad easier for me to recall!

The protagonist of FB was not particularly religious, but his life's work was hagiography (the study of saints). Inevitably, he mused frequently about the nature of miracles, and how they play an integral part in what we call reality. This parallels the notion that Owen Meany's small size and high-pitched voice are part of God's plan (which becomes explicit at the book's climax).

Also, in OM, the protagonist's mother is frequently compared to an angel. In FB, the protagonist wrestles with the idea that Mrs. Dempster, the primary maternal figure, is a saint.


Gordon Another book to explore is Hermann Hesse's Demian. It's a long time since I read it, so I couldn't point out particular similarities, but all through A Prayer For Owen Meany I kept coming upon things that reminded me of the Hesse novel.


message 5: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Gordon wrote: "Another book to explore is Hermann Hesse's Demian. It's a long time since I read it, so I couldn't point out particular similarities, but all through A Prayer For Owen Meany I kept coming upon thin..."

I've also heard that Irving acknowledged that OM is meant as an homage to The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass.


Lisa I loved this book so much! I listened to the audio version, which really drives the meaning of Owen's voice home!


message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Raymo I would also recommend, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint -- loved both.


Judy Schmitz This was a good book. I give it 4 stars.


Lesley I heard a discussion on a radio arts program with the author of The Art of Fielding where they discussed the many parallels with Owen Meany - although Chad Harbach hadn't read Irving's book when he wrote his. (Apparently now they're in communication & sharing their work). Might be worth trying.


Kissmekate Oh, thanks for all the suggestions. Owen Meany is one of my all-time favourites and I'm always on the lookout for something similar.


message 11: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Lesley wrote: "I heard a discussion on a radio arts program with the author of The Art of Fielding where they discussed the many parallels with Owen Meany - although Chad Harbach hadn't read Irvin..."

I haven't read The Art of Fielding, but isn't one of the characters named Owen? And isn't he involved in some kind of baseball-related mishap as well?


Lesley I haven't read it either although I may do in the future. There is a character called Owen & it's certainly about baseball so him being involved in a mishap is quite plausible.


message 13: by Zuly (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zuly Ben wrote: "Gordon wrote: "Another book to explore is Hermann Hesse's Demian. It's a long time since I read it, so I couldn't point out particular similarities, but all through A Prayer For Owen Meany I kept c..."

Ben wrote: "Gordon wrote: "Another book to explore is Hermann Hesse's Demian. It's a long time since I read it, so I couldn't point out particular similarities, but all through A Prayer For Owen Meany I kept c..."

I'd never realized this....I will have to read OM again, followed by The Tin Drum. Thanks!


message 14: by Zuly (last edited Sep 25, 2012 05:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zuly Kissmekate wrote: "Oh, thanks for all the suggestions. Owen Meany is one of my all-time favourites and I'm always on the lookout for something similar."

At the time I read this book (when it first came out), I was moved for days. I think it's a work of genius, and I love John Irving, for the most part (some of his books I don't like much), but I loved this.I also love The Hotel New Hampshire in a different way, though I don't think it is quite as powerful. The Cider House Rules is close to Meany in its wonder, as is Garp!! There's something off-beat and meandering in a lot of his books, and I like the path he takes to the end.


message 15: by Zuly (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zuly Being a Dickens fan for many years, I've seen a lot of Dickens references in Irving's works, especially The Cider House Rules, as I recall. I've heard Irving speak, and I believe he referenced Dickens as an influence. At the talk I attended he said that he can't begin writing a novel until he has formulated the last line of the novel.


JoAnn Hill Thanks for all your suggestions for Owen Meany read alikes. I have written them down and will start with "Fifth Business."
JoAnn


Patrick Loafman Ben wrote: "...you should check out Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. Irving mentions this book, and Davies in general, in reverential terms in the narrative of Meany. However, when you read Fifth Business, ..."

I loved Owen Meany so I'll definitely read 5th business.


William John Irving and Robertson Davies were good friends. I wasn't surprised that Irving lifted a critical scene right out of Fifth Business: the snowball versus the baseball. Nonetheless, I've enjoyed both books. The only real similarity that I see between The Tin Drum and Owen Meany is the size of the main character.


message 19: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan I read all the Robertson Davies books a number of years ago and loved them; but it was too long ago to remember them too well. I am at the point where I should reread all the books I liked.


JoAnn Hill Hello Ben, Thanks for the heads up on "Fifth Business". I'll definitely read it. I loved "Owen Meany". I've started reading it again after many-many years. JoAnn Hill www.apatchablue.com


Patty Simpson I've read and really liked both Owen Meany and Fifth Business - and to be honest, I sometimes mix them up a bit. Can't remember which characters come from which book; forget which events were in which book. So I guess I agree that they have things in common!


message 22: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Donahue If you liked Owen meany you will love other John Irving books e.g Cider House, The Fourth Hand, According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire is interesting. I haven't yet read the Fifth Business but I will have to check it out.

I actually truth be told liked the movie/creative ending of "Simon Birch" better than the book.


message 23: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Dan wrote: "If you liked Owen meany you will love other John Irving books e.g Cider House, The Fourth Hand, According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire is interesting. I haven't yet read the Fifth Business but I w..."

I don't believe all Irving books are equally good. Owen Meany is one of my absolute favorites, Garp & Cider House are very good, but by Fourth Hand he was getting raunchier and weirder, and Looking for my Father was IMHO unreadable. I have been very disappointed in the decline of the quality of his writing.


William Susan wrote: "Dan wrote: "If you liked Owen meany you will love other John Irving books e.g Cider House, The Fourth Hand, According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire is interesting. I haven't yet read the Fifth Busi..."

You'd flip out if you ever read In One Person. I don't think I'm all that homophobic but it really did make me feel very uncomfortable.


message 25: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan William wrote: "Susan wrote: "Dan wrote: "If you liked Owen meany you will love other John Irving books e.g Cider House, The Fourth Hand, According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire is interesting. I haven't yet read ..."

I'm sure! Not even going to attempt that one. I wonder what's happened to the guy?


William Susan wrote: "William wrote: "Susan wrote: "Dan wrote: "If you liked Owen meany you will love other John Irving books e.g Cider House, The Fourth Hand, According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire is interesting. I h..."

Probably success. It does it to some of the best.


Patty Simpson Susan wrote: I don't believe all Irving books are equally good. Owen Meany is one of my absolute favorites, Garp & Cider House are very good, but by Fourth Hand he was getting raunchier and weirder, and Looking for my Father was IMHO unreadable. I have been very disappointed in the decline of the quality of his writing.
I agree that they're not all equal, but I think it's more about personal taste than objective which ones are "good". I love Setting Free the Bears, Owen Meany, and Hotel New Hampshire. I enjoy all the rest, but think Garp is weak, and am least fond of CIder House Rules. Oh, and his most recent one, "In One Person" I just didn't think had enough story to hold together. But I really enjoyed the "searching for his father" one.


message 28: by Nm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nm Ben wrote: "...you should check out Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. Irving mentions this book, and Davies in general, in reverential terms in the narrative of Meany. However, when you read [bo..."

Holy wow I didn't know anyone else ever spotted that link. Not that I think I am special or anything, just when I stumbled across the fifth business I couldn't believe it. You are totally right.


William I've always known about the link between Fifth Business and Oweny Meany--snowball=baseball. Irving and Davies were friends.


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