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The Cider House Rules Mass Market Paperback – 31 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (31 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345387651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345387653
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,684,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times - winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules - a film with seven Academy Award nominations. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Last Night in Twisted River is John Irving's twelfth novel.

(Photo credit: Everett Irving)

Product Description

Review

"Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying."
--Joseph Heller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In the hospital of the orphanage-the boy's division at St. Cloud's, Maine-two nurses were in charge of naming the new babies and checking that their little penises were healing from the obligatory circumcision. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
Although I consider myself fairly well-read, I had never picked up a John Irving book in the past. I actually bought this book because I'd heard about the movie. (sidebar: DO NOT see the movie after reading this book-it is surfacy, american pap with the depth and passion removed.)
I found this book completely engrossing. It was so touching and passionate while telling a tale largely involving the difficult, delicate subject of abortion. The characters are well-written and, even though most would be considered misfits, the reader gets under their skin and roots for them, even the defiant Melony.
This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a novel which tugs at the heartstrings while being thought-provoking.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Most people come across Irving via "A Prayer for Owen Meany", which has a startling fanatical following. "Cider House" is a better story: ok, its hardly concise, ok, he lulls you almost to boredom before dropping the gore on you, or better yet, making you laugh out loud - ever wondered what goes through a toddler's mind sliding down a hill in a cardboard box and having his forward progress halted by a corpse ? - but sometimes, as in this book, his prose becomes poetic. Let it roll over you, if you've never read Irving, this is the one to try.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Jordan on 31 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel entertains - and indeed instructs - on many levels.

This is a story about a doctor, Wilbur Larch, who runs an orphanage but who also gives illegal abortions in early 20th century USA, one of his orphans, Homer Wells, whom he wishes to take over the trade (both trades), and Wilbur's back story, plus Homer's "forward" story through to his mid-40s. It also covers the life of Melony, a fellow orphan, the Worthingtons who run an orchard and develop the cider house rules, and the black apple pickers who visit the Worthingtons each year and live in the cider house. The plot is all that this might suggest and more: rambling, episodic, but never less interesting and surprising through all the novel's 700 pages. It is in part, indeed, compelling.

The story is also "about" transgression: the giving of abortions; sexual morality more generally - adultery and deceit - committed by very likeable characters; the rules of the cider house developed by the Worthington family, but also the "real" rules of the migrant workers; and the migrant workers' transgressions of those rules. At this level too, the novel is never less than interesting and surprising - in fact mostly it's deeply thought-provoking.

There are continuous references to two novels of Dickens - Great Expectations and David Copperfield, and to Jane Eyre. Irving is also asking us: is this what a "Victorian" novel would look like today? This too could prompt a lot of reflection - and a lot of admiration for what Irving has achieved in purely literary terms.

So: strongly recommended. The only thing you will have read that is like this, is perhaps, other novels of Irving. A very remarkable - and enjoyable - book. (Though A Prayer for Owen Meany is even more strongly recommendable...)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 April 2008
Format: Paperback
The Cider House Rules is a good example of John Irving at his best - it's a long, rich, complex and always fulfilling novel. Those who are familiar with Irving's other books will recognise the basic premise - it follows the life of an American man in unconventional circumstances - but his books are too complex and quirky to be formulaic.

Homer Wells, the protagonist, is a well developed central character, and he is supported by a cast of vivid and eccentric supporting acts. Irving describes all of his characters, however minor, in great detail - occasionally almost too much. As in all Irving books (that I have read) an important role is played by a dominating, overpoweringly strong female character who influences Homer in his early life. This character is present in everything I have read by him thus far. At least this incarnation is more likeable than some of the others I have encountered.

Wells grows up in an orphanage run by the saintly Dr Larch. An important theme of the story is abortion - Larch performs them illegally but safely, after seeing the horrific consequences of 'back street' abortions. Irving clearly conducted a great deal of gynaecological research, and the process of abortion is described in graphic detail. Therefore anyone who finds this topic upsetting should steer clear of the novel.

One of the best things about this novel - as with all Irving's work - is that it's never clear what is going to happen. Like real life, it is a journey and a surprise. There is no clear end point for the reader to reach, therefore it remains surprising and fresh throughout.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Davies on 18 Oct. 1999
Format: Paperback
John Irving is an outstanding and extraordinary writer. He can write about quite secular events with such an injection of magic and beauty that no scene is anything but fascinating. His development of characters and the authors relationship with them leaves one constantly devastated to have to finish the book and consequently their relationship with the characters.
The Cider House Rules is an epic book that never disappoints. The glowing honesty of the two main characters Dr Wilbur Larch and Homer wells his protege is the key to the success of this book. They are bright shining knights or as John Irving suggests, Princes of Maine and Kings of New England. Read it, read them all!
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