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Until I Find You Paperback – 1 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (1 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552773123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552773126
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 4.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,345 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


"John Irving has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger, but is arguably more inventive than either. Wry, laconic, he sketches his characters with an economy that springs from a feeling for words and a mastery of his craft" (The Times)

"Irving writes with a lapidary directness that is unsurpassed by any living writer" (Sunday Telegraph)

"It is very satisfying to read a book that is hard to put down, and if this were a more valued criterion, Irving would no doubt by now have received the official accolades he deserves" (Financial Times)

"Vivid, eccentric, memorable" (Independent)

"Irving's popularity is not too difficult to understand. His world really is the world according to everyone" (Time)

Book Description

A tragic-comic classic from one of the world's greatest living writers.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the only novel I have felt compelled to write a review of. Its impact upon me was profound and I have since re-read it. For such a huge novel, that is quite some undertaking.
This book is full of typical Irving-esque characters - wrestlers, tattooists, writers, not to mention an actor protagonist, Jack Burns. However, there is clearly something deeply personal in this book for the author here. The book is so vast simply because our experiences are so varied and compicated. Jack Burns emerges as a character with an psychological truth that is unprecedented in modern fiction. His memories and neuroses (maybe shared with the author?) dominate this book and each of the other characters is presented through his perceptions and experiences. Of course, this is how real life is for each of us. Everyone external to us can only be viewed subjectively and true 'objectivity' is actually impossible as long as we relate to others as humans. This is what Irving presents; a painfully real and limited human being who when confronted with agonising situations reacts in a pathetically human and limited way - just like all of us. If you find Jack an inexplicable or despicable character, you may get frustrated with this novel, but if you recognise him as a truthful portrayal of the product of an awkward and painful union of two real people you will be bowled over.
At the heart of this novel is a representation of family which has such love and empathy that it will braek your heart, if you have one. Certainly, no novel's climax has ever wrung such 'tears of blood' (Byron) from me. The psychological portrait of neurosis is incredibly accurate. It is possible that Irving has presented the reader with facts about himself wrung from years of self-analysis mixed with fiction.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "guldarr" on 9 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
John Irving's longest work to date tells the story of Jack Burns. His mother is a tattoist and his father an organist, addicted to music tattoos. It begins with Jack's recollections of his travels through northern Europe with his mother at the age of 4 in search of his absent father. In a strange mixture of hotels, tattoo shops and churches Irving paints a picture of Jack's early life and his perception of his parents. Jack and his mother apparently give up the trail and settle down in Canada with no sign of his absent father.
He attends an all-girls school which has just admitted its first boys and meets Emma Oastler, an older girl, who will become his closest friend. Even at an early age, his life is dominated by older women and Jack suffers abuse in a variety of ways. He finds his niche, acting in school drama productions, particularly excelling in female roles. Sent away to boarding school in the States, Jack feels rejected not only by his father but also his mother. Unable to find a lasting relationship, he moves to LA and eventually gets a break in acting.
Then two tragedies strike Jack's life. Bit by bit, Jack starts to piece together his past. He returns to Europe and discovers that the world is not always as it seems to a four year-old boy.
Irving has created a host of dysfunctional characters, with whom I am pleased to say I could sympathise. For me, this was a great improvement on A Widow For One Year. Despite its air of sadness, the author's usual wit and humour are as strong as usual. The story of Jack Burns in some ways reflects Irving's own personal life and although, he changed the narrative from first to third person, it is this personal connnection which makes it a very poignant novel; perhaps his best work for a number of years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Thackrey on 12 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Covering much ground, there were sections of the book I "learned" to quickly skim through...detailed descriptions of tattoos, descriptions of old Euro-church architecture, etc. Some may love these elaborations; it didn't mean much to me. Irving certainly seemed to enjoy telling us about them. But there was a point to it, I understand-- it was a part of these characters lives.

Without a doubt the book as a whole was intruiging. The story is rich with emotion and love and pain and injustice and struggle and loss and success. Just like life. And throughout every phase of Jack's life, as strange as it was at times, I really wanted everything to work out for him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amsterdamned on 3 May 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a huge fan of some of Irving's books. They grab you from the first moment and keep your attention throughout with idiosyncratic characters and slightly unreal situations. But this is not in the league of his best works.

It starts badly, with a tour of Northern Europe more in common with a travel itinerary than a work of fiction ("Look, I've been to these places and I'll prove it by describing them all in wordy tedium"). [As an aside, his foreign characters all either don't speak English at all, or speak it with such a superb grasp of colloquialisms that most native speakers would be put to shame! It says something about the lack of quality of the start of the book].

But persevere and Irving gets back to topics he can write about - New England, wrestling and sex. The rest of the novel has its ups and downs, the characters are generally too controlling or too controlled to come fully to life, and it certainly could have been much more wisely edited (it really is just too long). It was worth slogging through, but it was touch and go ...
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