The 158-Pound Marriage (Black Swan) Paperback – 22 Feb 1980
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"The most important American humorist to appear in the last ten years" (Kurt Vonnegut)
"Irving's popularity is not hard to understand. His world really is the world according to everyone" (Time)
"John Irving has been compared with 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 mastery over his craft. This superbly original book is one to be read and remembered" (The Times)
A modern classic from the international bestseller John Irving.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read morePublished on 30 Dec. 2011 by N. A. Spencer
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. Read morePublished on 31 Jan. 2011 by Lexicon