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The World According to Garp (Modern Library) Hardcover – 31 May 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; New edition edition (31 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679603069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679603061
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.7 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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

"Absolutely extraordinary...a roller-coaster ride that leaves one breathless, exhausted, elated and tearful" (Los Angeles Times)

"A wonderful novel, full of energy and art, at once funny and heartbreaking. You know it is true. It is also terrific" (The Washington Post)

"Like all great works of art, Irving's novel seems always to have been there, a diamond sleeping in the dark, chipped out at last for our enrichment and delight...As approachable as it is brilliant, Garp pulses with vital energy" (Cosmopolitan)

"Like all extraordinary books, The World According to Garp defies synopsis" (Chicago Sun Times) --This text refers to the Paperback 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
Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. Cross on 25 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is truly my favourite book ever! A fabulous story about the life of Garp from conception until death.(and a very unusual conception it was).
The reader experiences Garps life with him. His unusual mother and upbringing. The characters he encounters are thoroughly enjoyable. Particularly Roberta Muldoon. It is a story that makes you laugh and cry and I was teary at the end. My next pet whether it be male or female is going to be named Garp!
A lot of John Irving's usual themes are present in the book, New England, wrestling, animals etc. This is my favourite John Irving title and the film with Robin Williams starring as Garp fails to do it any justice at all.
I would reccomend this book as a great flowing story about life with but with Irving style quirkyness.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By jr@tesson.demon.co.uk on 29 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
That is, if you have as good an imagination as John Irving.
I had heard great things about John Irving, and had it not been for this fact I would have never launched myself into a 600 page novel. I am easily bored. Even despite its recommendations I was still unprepared for how I would react to The World According to Garp.
The novel begins by narrating the unusual circumstances surrounding Garp's entrance into the world, i.e. from the perspective of his mother. Although its is a long book, I really felt that every word was necessary, and points are woven together throughout the novel. The story climaxes towards the end, by which time you are grateful for the extra pages.
Garp is a writer, and this book is about writing, and the world 'according to a writer,' and especially a father. Irving writes in his afterword that his book is about a father's fear of losing his children. He says: "I'm just a father with a good imagination. In my imagination I lose my children every day."
The fun thing is we get to read Garp's writing, too, and his best work, a short story called The Pension Grillparzer (don't ask!) has actually been published as a separate book in its own right. We get to know Garp through his writing and through the other characters, as well as through Irving's voice. A very inventive novel, pushing the boundaries of fiction, not just its shape, but its subject too.
This book made me laugh. The comedy is so closely intertwined with the tragedy that you feel personally involved with the joke. You experience pain with humour, tragedy with farce, and warmth all the way through. You never know what is going to happen next. I know what I'm going to do next: read some more Irving!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
This really is a wonderful book; alternately hysterically funny and surreal, and at one point heartbreakingly sad. From the very first page, you are drawn into Garp's peculiar world. The characters are fully-developed and the plot races along at a cracking pace.
It's a bit of a cliché to say that a book can make you laugh and also make you cry, but in this case it's true. If this is the first John Irving book you read, it certainly won't be the last.
Set aside a couple of completely free days to read it - once you start, you won't want to put it down.
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Format: Paperback
Garp is born to Jenny Fields a strong minded and independent woman. Initially Jenny is portrayed a misandrist who is quite comfortable in slicing open a soldier who makes inappropriate advances to her and assaults her. As a nurse she chooses to rape, and become pregnant by, an invalid sergeant in her care who is suffering severe brain injury from shrapnel. Garp grows up in the wake of this determined woman. We follow Garp, now a writer, as he betrays, is betrayed, and ultimately destroyed, by women.

The story is predicated on the basis that there is humour in; Jenny Fields becoming a feminist icon because she prefers to live without men; a group of disturbed women who cut out their tongues in sympathy with a child rape victim; the mutilation of Garp's wife's lover; the stammer of one of Garp's lovers. Personally, I found no humour either in the topics themselves or in the pretentious and patronising writing.

The novel includes three extracts of the protagonist's writing. That the short story 'Pension Grillparzer' could subsequently have been published separately (in real life) defies belief. Their inclusion is irrelevant to the novel.

The characters are deliberately shorn of context in order to maintain the absurdity of the story. There is no real mention of Garp's grandparents even though it is clear they continued to have a part in his mother's life - she was even the beneficiary of their estate. This presumably is done in order to ensure that there is no male role model for Garp. The characters are inconsistent and unbelievable.
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Format: Paperback
I couldn't make my mind up about what to say of this book. Until I spotted the 1 star review above by beccajwp. which is pretty much what I wanted to say, apart from I thought it started off quite well, had me laughing a fair bit. Then it was all down hill, and I felt the book was written for the Author, not for me, unless just to "marvel" at his skill at umm, chucking everything into the pot. A bit like TV Soaps these days where the frenzy to impress with all sorts of outlandish tripe and other fiction is bunged in to grab the well I never did brigades.
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