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In One Person [Hardcover]

John Irving
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 16.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 May 2012

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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In One Person + Last Night in Twisted River + Until I Find You
Price For All Three: 29.79

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857520962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857520968
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,705 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

"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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Time to put down the pen 6 Sep 2013
By NS
Format:Paperback
It is with a very heavy heart I write this review.
John Irving has been my favourite Author for thirty years. One of the great Post War American authors. Challenging, funny, pathos all mixed up. Sadly his 21st century books are far out weighed by his 20th century novels.
I have left reading this book because Twisted River was so bad.....I wish I hadn't picked it up.
This book is a mess. No real story line, boring unsympathetic characters, zero humour, a never ending & tedious moralising tone.
I think he has finished the themes of transexuals (genders), wrestling and historical timelines for ever. Its most common storyline is who has died this page.
This one will go in the Charity pile, never to be re-read. I skipped through the last 100 pages as I was so bored.
I will have to re-visit some of his other work to cheer me up and to re-convince me that he is a class author.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very involved, not very involving 30 July 2012
Format:Hardcover
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
just what I expected from John Irving.
Published 24 days ago by Eiram
2.0 out of 5 stars Delicate subject but far from delicately told!
The book was selected for me by my book club so the subject covered in this book is not my usual choice.
It involves a mans story of his life dealing with his sexuality. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tony Bendall
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual thought provoking
I love his writing you get so involved with the characters in his books, they seem so real. Definitely one that you can't put down once you have started it.
Published 2 months ago by Miss Y J Small
5.0 out of 5 stars The John Irving I know and love
Contrary to other reviews I found this a welcome return to the style that so mesmerised me in A Prayer for Owen Meany, Cider House Rules, The World according to Garp and Hotel New... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs J P Wharton
4.0 out of 5 stars Love John Irving
Really enjoyed this book. Kept me interested from beginning to end. Recommend it to any John irving fan. Not sure why there are so many negative reviews. Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. Redfern
5.0 out of 5 stars A colorful story
In One Person: A Novel is an interesting story written on an interesting premise that has been very little explored. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Te
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
Considering the subject matter this book was better than I could ave imagined. Or maybe I should have. It was written by John Irving, a master in his craft.
Published 9 months ago by Juhani Lausas
5.0 out of 5 stars In One Person
Thought provoking and touching! Subjects that can at time be disturbing but written in a way that is engaging and at time amusing.
I found it difficult to put down.... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Typical John Irving.....but not quite as good as Last Night at Twisted River, but will worth a read. It's a big book, so if you've got a kindle, I would buy it on that!!
Published 10 months ago by Stateside
1.0 out of 5 stars Caricatures, (Brackets), Repetition and Repetition
'In One Person' is overlong, poorly structured and unconvincing. Unconvincing in that it smacks of being a straight man's idea of what it is to be bi or gay or transgender. Read more
Published 10 months ago by C. N. Robinson
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