A Prayer For Owen Meany and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£1.89
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book is eligible for free delivery anywhere in the UK. Your order will be picked, packed and dispatched by Amazon. Buy with confidence!
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A Prayer for Owen Meany: 21 Great Bloomsbury Reads for the 21st Century (21st Birthday Celebratory Edn) Paperback – 2 Jan 2007


See all 51 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, 2 Jan 2007
£5.00 £0.01


Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 21st Birthday Celebratory ed edition (2 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747590109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747590101
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 5.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,108,392 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

Amazon Review

Owen Meany is a dwarfish boy with a strange voice who accidentally kills his best friend's mum with a baseball and believes--correctly, it transpires--that he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom. John Irving's novel, which inspired the 1998 Jim Carrey movie Simon Birch, is his most popular book in Britain, and perhaps the oddest Christian mystic novel since Flannery O'Connor's work. Irving fans will find much that is familiar: the New England prep-school-town setting, symbolic amputations of man and beast, the Garp-like unknown father of the narrator (Owen's orphaned best friend), the rough comedy. The scene of doltish Dr Dolder, Owen's shrink, drunkenly driving his VW down the school's marble steps is a marvellous set piece. So are the Christmas pageants Owen stars in. But it's all, as Highlights magazine used to put it, "fun with a purpose". When Owen plays baby Jesus in the pageants, and glimpses a tombstone with his death date while enacting A Christmas Carol, the slapstick doesn't change the fact that he was born to be martyred. The book's countless subplots add up to a moral argument, specifically an indictment of American foreign policy--from Vietnam to the Contras.

The book's mystic religiosity is steeped in Robertson Davies' Deptford trilogy, and the fatal baseball relates to the fatefully misdirected snowball in the first Deptford novel, Fifth Business. Tiny, symbolic Owen echoes the hero of Irving's teacher Günter Grass's The Tin Drum--the two characters share the same initials. A rollicking entertainment, Owen Meany is also a meditation on literature, history and God. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'May justly join the classic American list' Anthony Burgess, Observer 'So extraordinary, so original, and so enriching' Stephen King, Washington Post 'I believe it to be a work of genius some of the most fascinating prose written in fiction today' Jan Morris, Independent 'Intelligent, exhilarating and darkly comic Dickensian in scope Quite stunning' Los Angeles Times

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 April 1999
Format: Paperback
"What's your favourite..." can be such an irritating question, but for me, for books, there's an instant answer - 'A Prayer For Owen Meany.' I could tell you about angels and armadillos, armless Indians and the headless Mary Magdalene, the lethal baseball, what the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come saw and exactly how it connects with the corpse of a helicopter pilot burned and blistered in Vietnam, and, of course, THE VOICE - and I'd still not manage to get you to the heart of this novel. And the heart is the key to it; like his beloved Dickens, Irving sets out to speak to your emotions, to make you laugh and - ultimately - bring you to tears. It is a masterpiece both of virtuoso plotting and of creating heartbreakingly involving characters. A friend of mine, after finishing the book, said 'For a few days I missed Owen Meany as if I'd known him.' If you do nothing else today, take a recommendation and read this book. Just think of it as my litle gift to you...
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. D. Organ on 8 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
5 stars doesn't really do this justice. John Irving transcends perfection with 'A Prayer For Owen Meany'. This book is probably the most moving piece of literature I've ever read. That's not because it's particularly sad. It's more down to the love felt by the narrator towards Owen, and Owen's immense faith.

There's not much more that can be said without ruining the intricate plot. Owen Meany is a magical character and I would recommend this book above any other.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By N. Crump on 15 May 2003
Format: Paperback
I've just this minute finished Owen Meany and I my eyes are filled with tears. So much is already said about this book. I will simply say that I was impatient through the book, although I enjoyed it, because I didn't understand where it was going. I should have understood all the time that Owen was speaking to me, the reader, as much as to John in saying that "A LITTLE FAITH IS NEEDED".
I perservered (and really it wasn't such a difficult task) and at the end was the reward which was unbelieavbly moving. The most touching story I've ever read - just so emotionally and spiritually big, but accessible. Maybe that was the point. Don't let your impatience get the better of you, treasure every page like you would each moment of your growing child - because the end comes all too soon.
Reaching the conclusion is an epiphany in itself, but its a book full of revelations about humanity and God even to the hardened atheist, the most unsentimental or even the driven agnostic like me. It was a privledge.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Lendrick VINE VOICE on 26 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
Having greatly enjoyed `The World According to Garp' I was looking forward to `A Prayer for Owen Meany `which has the reputation of being Irving's best book. But I was sadly disappointed and remain somewhat baffled by the praise heaped on this novel - it is not dreadful, but not wonderful either.

I didn't warm to Owen, while at times intriguing I found him increasingly annoying as the book progressed. THE DECISION TO HAVE ALL OF HIS SPEECH IN CAPITALS DOESN'T HELP AS IT FEELS LIKE HE IS SHOUTING & LONGER PASSAGES ARE DIFFICULT TO READ. John Wheelwright the narrator is bland and dull, only distinguished by his love of Owen. Which leaves only the supporting character to add interest, I'd have liked more of Johns', Mother, Grandmother & his cousin Hester.

My second problem is that the book is too long by at least 200 pages. The basic plot elements would make a decent novella. Once Owens fate is mostly revealed, about half way through, narrative & character getting lost in a long wade through dull and often repetitive diversions on religion, Vietnam, contras, Johns boring life in Canada. Before we finally get anywhere near a conclusion. I was tempted to give up about 2/3rd through, only carrying on in hope of a revelatory ending.

My biggest problem though is that while Irving seems to be trying to make points about faith and religion. It isn't clear what they are, and the whole thing becomes increasing turgid. Some claim this book as life changing (though without saying how their lives have changed). They are I think reading it as an endorsement of faith, but I'm not sure if that is the intention.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jenny on 28 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
Owen Meany is one of the great fictional characters of our time. In my opinion, this is the novel in which John Irving reaches the peak of his form. The humour, irony, pathos and humanity that Irving puts into all of his novels blends so well here to create the quirkiest of all stories. Owen Meany is maybe the most unlikely hero of any novel but this extraordinary book tells his story and makes us understand what a hero he is. Very moving.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am afraid I wasn't familiar with most of the literary comparisons that, according to the previous reviewer, Irving was making to other books but believe me - you do not need to know them to be gripped by the story and characters. I have neglected John Irvings work since I read The World According To Garp many years ago. Considering I absolutely loved that book too I can only blame my negligence on having and raising children. Now that I am reminded what a great writer he is I shall be ordering his back catalogue straight away. You will remember the characters in this book for a very very long time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback