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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice little surprise
This is an early Irving which, as usual, contains references to wrestling and features the city of Vienna. This is the story of a foursome, quirky stories about their individual pasts and how they all met. But also about where this unusual relationship is going. As often with Irving you wonder "but where does he get this from?!". From Utch's childhood (found hiding in a...
Published on 3 April 2009 by French reader

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little dull at times
After reading John Irving's A Son Of The Circus a few months ago and enjoying it , I decided to read another of his books. I chose The 158-Pound Marriage because, unlike many of Irving's other works it was a slim volume ideal for carrying whilst commuting.

The narrator is an academic who writes historical novels. His wife, Utch, was born in Austria soon before...
Published on 5 Oct. 2012 by ADAM


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice little surprise, 3 April 2009
This review is from: The 158-Pound Marriage (Paperback)
This is an early Irving which, as usual, contains references to wrestling and features the city of Vienna. This is the story of a foursome, quirky stories about their individual pasts and how they all met. But also about where this unusual relationship is going. As often with Irving you wonder "but where does he get this from?!". From Utch's childhood (found hiding in a cow by a Russian army officer), to Edith and Severin's trip to Greece and the watermelon truck, how Edith seems to never be able to differentiate between her two children, Utch's jealous roommates gradually shaving off all their body hair to protest as she got married, the guy with a hole in his cheek, the surprise goodbye ceremony from Severin's friends, and everything about Audrey Cannon (I won't spoil the plot on this one). This is all so original and funny. Irving created very likeable characters. He even managed to convey his passion for wrestling through Severin's character in a rather subtle way.

I was not very keen on reading this book as this is an early Irving which does not seem very popular but I think this is a little gem. Not his best but definitely unpretentious and a great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and a taste of whats to come, 25 Jun. 2008
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This review is from: The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan) (Paperback)
I have to say this is a lot better than the other reviews suggest. Its an easy and entertaining read in which Irving intertwines a current complex relationship with character histories going back several decades.
In this novel you can see the seeds of Hotel New Hampshire and Garp and the recurrent Irving themes and backgrounds (Wrestling, German, Austria, sex) are very much evident. I very much enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little dull at times, 5 Oct. 2012
By 
ADAM (London, UK) - See all my reviews
After reading John Irving's A Son Of The Circus a few months ago and enjoying it , I decided to read another of his books. I chose The 158-Pound Marriage because, unlike many of Irving's other works it was a slim volume ideal for carrying whilst commuting.

The narrator is an academic who writes historical novels. His wife, Utch, was born in Austria soon before the Soviet Union marched in at the end of WW2. Severin, also born in Austria, teaches German and coaches wrestling at the same university as the narrator. His wife, Edith, is an aspiring novelist.

The two couples decide to become a foursome'. By mutual agreement Severin spends occasional nights sleeping with Utch, whilst Edith and the narrator sleep together. It is an arrangement that appears to be working, but from the beginning of the book I suspected that things turn sour. It is clear from the outset that the narrator is wary of Severin, but the reverse is not true. Severin turns out to be a colourful character full of mystery, some of which is gradually revealed as the tale unfolds. Inevitably, things end badly, but I will not reveal any details.

Compared to A Son Of The Circus, The 158-Pound Marriage is colourless and dull. It was only a refusal to give up, that kept me going until the last page. However, I have not been put-off reading John Irving, and plan to tackle some of his better-known novels in the future.

Review by author of ROGUE OF ROUXVILLE
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Tedious., 31 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan) (Paperback)
I think I have read Irving's best works eg The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany, whereas this I found exteremely tedious. Irving thinks that by being left-field or slightly surreal makes for an interesting read-it does not. His obsession with Vienna and anything to do with wrestling is tiresome and rather repetitive. I would avoid this book(along with The Hotel New Hampshire-talking bears? Please?!) and go for Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory for something off-centre and surreal.

I have struggled with other books written by this author and can honestly say i am fed up of trying to get to the end of one of them without being tempted to just give up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The 158-Pound Marriage: John Irving, 30 Dec. 2011
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N. A. Spencer - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The 158-pound marriage (Paperback)
The 158-Pound Marriage is John Irving's third novel. The novel explores the relationships between the four main characters who become involved in a bizarre ménage a quatre. Through the narrative the reader discovers how the four characters, Severin Winter and his wife Edith, Utchka (known as Utch) and her husband, the unnamed narrator of the novel met. The book also deals with the emotional problems that develop as the differing characters attempt to impose their own personal preferences into the already complex relationship. The novel is an easy read written in a light humorous style, there are touches of irony and plenty of curious minor characters, whose appearance within the text add to the overall effect of the novel. As other reviewers have mentioned John Irving uses themes within The 158-Pound Marriage (wrestling, New England, Vienna and writers) that will reappear throughout his novels. This I feel gives the reader an insight into his thoughts and interests. Despite the novels brevity and its lack of pathos or sentimentality/ human feeling in comparison to a later example of Irving's, A Prayer for Owen MeanyI feel The 158-Pound marriage is well worth reading as it identifies John Irving's prowess as a really good storyteller.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Irving, 28 Jun. 2006
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A reader (Leicestershire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan) (Paperback)
This is one of John Irving's earlier novels. It does not reach the heights of his work during his best phase, which ran from "The world according to Garp" to "A son of the circus", but I think fans of Irving will find it interesting. Some of his constant preoccupations turn up here (wrestling, Vienna) and the seriocomic elements are firmly in place. It meanders much less than his more recent works. Indeed, beside the gargantuan "Until I find you" (which this reviewer is still reading), it is practically a short story.
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2 of 101 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The turnips have gone cold Mildred, 17 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan) (Paperback)
The story in the book is very moving in a strange ethereal sort of big outlandishly childish postmodern apocalyptic kinda americo-anglicised french novelist on a bicycle with a sting of onions around his neck way. I particularly liked the scene involving Mildred the undead militant-trotskyist housekeeper who wears unwashed pvc hotpants while cooking turnips. This brought tears to my eyes the descriptions were that great. I only wish he could write like me.
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The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan)
The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan) by John Irving (Paperback - 22 Feb. 1980)
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