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In One Person [Kindle Edition]

John Irving
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love — tormented, funny, and affecting — and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a ‘sexual suspect’, a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 — in his landmark novel of ‘terminal cases’, The World According to Garp.

His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving’s In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers — a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself ‘worthwhile’.

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Product Description


"This wonderful novel is an epic, moving survey of 70 years of sexual revolution" (The Times)

"Deeply enjoyable... a comic celebration of polymorphous perversity, and of literature" (Guardian)

"Irving has rarely written with the gorgeous poise and control he musters here" (Financial Times)

"In One Person gives a lot. It’s funny, as you would expect. It’s risky in what it exposes. Tolerance, in a John Irving novel is not about anything goes; it’s what happens when we face our own desires honestly, whether we act on them or not" (Jeanette Winterson)

"A brave and hugely affecting depiction of how in one life (sexual and otherwise) we contain multitudes" (Elle)

Book Description

Spanning fifty years, In One Person is an breathtaking examination of sexual identity

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1541 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307361780
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (10 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007NG935C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER
"In One Person" is a sensitive story of sexual identity, narrated by a bisexual writer who is now in his later years, recalling not only his own coming to terms with his sexuality and attraction to men, women and transgenders while at school in a New England school, but also his later years and the devastating impact of the AIDS virus in 1980s America. At times the content is quite graphic, but John Irving captures the outsider's feelings beautifully in this tale of secrecy in a confusing world of identity.

Irving is always at his best when it comes to writing about outsiders and is at his most effective when he writes with passion and anger at the treatment of those individuals. It's somewhat ironic that the late 1970s and 1980s have such a devastating impact on the theatrical characters in this story as this was the decade that saw Irving's own output reach such a consistently high standard with books such as "The World According to Garp", "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and "The Cider House Rules". Since that period his output has been more patchy, but this marks a return to something like his very best form. As partly with "Garp" its focus is on people's attitudes to sexual differences.

There are plenty of Irving standards in the book. There's the New England setting, the college life, the wrestling team, Vienna, absent parents, writers, sexual variations and the main character even has a speech impediment, albeit not quite so distinctive as Owen Meany's. As one character rails to the writer-narrator at one point: "You create all these characters who are so sexually `different' as you might call them ... and then you expect us to sympathize with them, or feel sorry for them, or something".
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very involved, not very involving 30 July 2012
In Irving's previous novels, we encounter multi-dimensional, multi-faceted characters that engage, touch and move us. Sometimes, the background contains recurring themes (rape, violence against women, abortion) against which their lives unfold. But the story, the lives and interactions of the characters are always primary, and the message inevitably and inexorably emerges from these.
This novel, however, is a pamphlet. It feels as though Irving has decided that he has a message to impart - discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong - and has constructed (and I use the word advisedly) a story around it. No matter how much we may agree with the central message (which I do wholeheartedly), this does not make for a good novel.
For example, in _The Hotel New Hampshire_, Irving reflects on the last sentence of a novel, and how no-one ever managed to even come close to the one of _The Great Gatsby_. I personally think he has sometimes given Fitzgerald a run for his money in this domain, most notably in _Owen Meany_. But here, almost at the end, we read the following: "My dear boy, don't put a _label_ on me - don't make me a _category_ before you get to know me." Does it get any more trite and contrived?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars people are just people 12 May 2012
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable life story, which features the relationships of Billy Abbott, a writer in his sixties looking back over the important events and people in his life. Billy is bisexual, and that fact has been a major influence on his relations with family, lovers, and friends - many of whom have never found a way to define their understanding of him, or their relationships with him. John Irving writes as beautifully as ever, creating a sympathy for the characters and an empathy with their troubles and dreams. The novel is page turning - you find yourself reading on and on to find out what happens, and to learn the secrets of the past as they are revealed.

The events described cover a period of over 50 years up to the present and as such chart society's growing acceptance of diversity, and a generally improving atmosphere of tolerance, whilst making the destructive effects of bigotry and prejudice clear. Above all this novel is a sympathetic and often moving narration of life outside of mainstream convention, which celebrates people as people - without the need for tags or labels to categorise or to judge them

A very well written, kind, and enjoyable book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A shade disappointing for Irving 26 Oct. 2012
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I always look forward to a new book by John Irving. Reading 'Hotel New Hampshire' in my teens is still such a vivid memory for me, and I have been hooked on his work ever since. It is fair to say that over the years the quality of his work has varied quite widely and some books are way, way better than others, but he is never not interesting.

This latest book is really not one of my favourites. I enjoy his writing about people on the periphery of society. I love that he tackles differences in gender and sexuality so openly and frankly, but this novel seemed rather laboured and he did bang on a bit. The story itself, which could have been magnificent, peopled as it is by his usual cast of freaks and outsiders, who always capture the imagination, seemed drowned by the weight of polemic in what was effectively a four hundred page rant about sexuality. I stuck with it to the end because I love Irving dearly, but unlike some of his other work, this is not one of his books that I will be rereading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "Don't put a label on me ..."
In One Person both delighted me and disappointed me. It was one of those novels. There are many things to applaud John Irving for in this book - mainly, writing about a subject at... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Dan Thompson, Author
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good
Tired and unimaginative. A mosh mash of material. From previous books. Pointless . Next topic necrophilia maybe or worse ?
Published 19 days ago by Rjhcoach
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very readable from this eminent author
Published 29 days ago by eilsel
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book
What a superb book. Incredibly moving, a thing of real beauty
Published 1 month ago by Mainser
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not as good as his previous novels.
Published 5 months ago by Eva Bata
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing return to form.
Amazing return to form for a writer that I had given up on.I loved this novel from the first page until almost the last page. Read more
Published 7 months ago by K Lancaster
1.0 out of 5 stars Eugh. What a massive pile of poo! A ...
Eugh. What a massive pile of poo! A potentially fascinating topic for a book, but written in a really mundane and dry manner. Read more
Published 9 months ago by vgmlondon
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, once again
John Irving never disappoints and, once again, he has produced a novel of the highest quality, on a challenging subject.
Published 9 months ago by stokes
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and believable
it is hard to believe that this is not an autobiography. the details are so accurate and the characters so believable. I was engrossed from beginning to end.
Published 9 months ago by MLK
3.0 out of 5 stars Bear-free
New England - check
Vienna - check
Boarding School - check
Absent parent - check
Wrestling - check
Bears - no, no bears in this one.
Published 10 months ago by Roger Kirby
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