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The World According to Garp (Modern Library) [Hardcover]

John Irving
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 14.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 May 1998 Modern Library
The World According to Garp is a comic and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers of his generation. A worldwide bestseller since its publication in 1978, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, novelist and bastard son of Jenny Fields--a feminist leader ahead of her time. Beyond that, The World According to Garp virtually defies synopsis.

----"Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it," said critic Terrence Des Pres. "Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous. . . . Friendship, marriage and family are his primary themes, but at that blundering level of life where mishap and folly--something close to joyful malice--perpetually intrude and disrupt, often fatally. Life, in Irving's fiction, is always under siege." Time magazine commented: "Irving's popularity is not hard to understand. His world is really the world according to nearly everyone."

----This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by the author.

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editons of impor-tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoringas its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

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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: 19.2 x 12.9 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 631,369 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


"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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Read 25 Nov 2009
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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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book! 30 Jun 2000
By A Customer
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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Loss of Innocence? 21 Jan 1999
By A Customer
The World According to Garp, I think, was a book of its time. Like Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run or The Beatles Sgt Peppers', it captured a feeling in the community, particularly the baby boomers, which a lot of people then understood and related to. Unfortunately, with time, this understanding has become less than clear to ensuing generations. It was released in the mid to late 1070s (1978 I think) when the baby boomers were all hitting 30 and starting to slow down, starting to think they needed some literary icon of their own generation to look to, the way they had looked to the Beatles, Stones and Rolling Stone magazine etc when they were teenagers. Remember, Salinger, Keroac, Kesey, Thompson etc were all born pre-WWII.
The most peculiar (to younger readers) element of this novel must be the Ellen Jamesians, a metaphor I think, for the fanatics that dominated the society, politics and news of the 1970s - everything from disco mania to Patty Hearst's terrorist group, to the student killings at Kent State, to all the other violent terrorist acts of that decade. All had their genesis in the freedom of expression realised by the baby boomers in the 1960s and the frustration and anger that came with the realisation that society being what it is, this freedom had nowhere to go. (TANGENT: that freedom of expression was always there, it was just that these were the first kids to see themselves on TV, the first fruits of the first real middle class America had known, and they thought their future would be different to that of their parents because their youth had been) So, the anger poured out against segregation and Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s had nowhere to go once Nixon resigned and Saigon fell.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as others would have us believe 6 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book influenced by previous five star reviews. It has highs and lows in terms of story telling, but declined to terminal boredom by the end. There are humorous sections, thought provoking ones too; but to me it all became a bit laboured. The author has points he wants to get across and does so well at times, but then he reinforces the issues time and again with some rather far fetched scenarios. The end of the book becomes a meaningless epitaph to all the characters mentioned in the book. The book is long and to my mind not compelling enough to warrant five stars. Approach with caution!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, powerful, and uniquely written. I couldn't ...
Clever, powerful, and uniquely written. I couldn't put this book down.
Published 14 days ago by Amirah
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fantastic - epic
Published 27 days ago by Rob Clements
5.0 out of 5 stars ... wont change your life but it may be the best you'll read this year
This book wont change your life but it may be the best you'll read this year, will make you smile, engender remorse and stay with you for a long time.
Published 1 month ago by SAM COOK
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Novel
This is the first John Irving novel that I have come across after being recommended by a friend. I had become a little disheartened by the last couple of novels I had read and I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Matthew Albury
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I didn't think that 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' could be bettered but this was equally as brilliant. Irving is up there with the best as his writing is insightful and often very... Read more
Published 3 months ago by houpminquine
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Book , Great Service !
Good Quality Edition, Delivered Promptly ! Happy Shopping of a Book I Know Well and Bought For Friends ! Highly Recommend !
Published 3 months ago by JL
4.0 out of 5 stars A "weird" book about "weirdness"
Some of this book, indeed most of it, is stratospherically brilliant. The episode in Vienna with the young aspiring Author Garp is matchless, and well worth the "entry... Read more
Published 5 months ago by legrandpierre
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
zero percent funny
1 shocking event (soon forgotten)
forty percent (bad) sex
sixty percent hot air
One hundred percent boring
One big fat stinker
Published 8 months ago by ilcampi
2.0 out of 5 stars Umm, Difficult to review..............
I couldn't make my mind up about what to say of this book. Until I spotted the 1 star review above by beccajwp. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ges
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read..
This novel has you laughing and crying at the same time. Brilliantly written, compulsive reading. What a film this would make!
Published 10 months ago by Marie McLafferty
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