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Setting Free The Bears (Black Swan) Paperback – 26 Oct 1979

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (26 Oct. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552992062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552992060
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The most nourishing, satisfying novel I have read in years. I admire the hell out of it" (Kurt Vonnegut Jr)

"Sensual, moving, truly remarkable" (Time)

"Imagine a mixture of Till Eulenspiegel and Ken Kesey and you've got the range of the merry pranksters who hot-rod through Mr Irving's book, tossing flowers, stealing salt-shakers, and planning the biggest caper of their young lives" (The New York Times)

Book Description

A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 16 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an incredible, beautiful book, as so many of Irving's are. What sets this apart from his other work is the raw energy that cuts through it. There is an amazing vitality that I haven't seen in other Irving titles (and I've read them all and loved almost all) and it swept me away. Ok, so it doesn't have the overwhelming impact of Meany, or the breadth of his later work, but it crackles with energy, and his use of language is both electifying and lyrical. It reads like a young and brilliant author enjoying himself. To my mind, it is Water Method Man that really reads like a first novel - like a writer trying to establish himself by being contrivedly deep and introverted.
If you like his later work, or indeed any of his work, I'd recommend this wholeheartedly.
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By Jeremy Walton TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 April 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this a long time ago, and picked it up off the shelf again in anticipation of a trip to Vienna later this week. I had good memories of the style of this first novel by Irving, and the account of two friends on a road trip through Austria which opens up into memories of the Anschluss and Siggy's family history has held up well. This long central section, which is bookended by the account of the journey away from and back to Vienna, is probably my favourite part; historical events, accidents and incidents are described in terms of their effect on family members and other individuals, many of whom perished in capricious circumstances. This is movingly echoed in the statement which Irving quotes from the Serbian general Drazha Mihailovich at his trial after the war: "I wanted much, I started much, but the gales of the world have carried away both me and my work." It's a poignant image, which was also memorably used in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale.
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By A Customer on 1 July 2000
Format: Paperback
After having read Garp, Owen Meany, Widow for a Year and Cider House Rules with such immense enjoyment, I was eager to read Irving's first book. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed. Although the book is enjoyable, it does not have the fluency of his other work and was a lot easier to put down.
Irving fans beware!
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Format: Paperback
an earlier outing from john irving possibly my favourite writer ever. a good yarn as you might expect from the man who wrote the cider house rules,garp, a prayer for owen meany and countless other classics but without the hook of a truly brilliant character to both detest and love as you do with his other books.
for newcomers i wouldnt reccomend this. go with the world according to garp, cider house rules or a prayer for owen meany. there is no real urgency to the story.
for those who came to this book for further antics of the kind got up to by earl the bear in the hotel new hampshire, you won't find them, which is not to say that this isnt delightful just not priority reading where irving is concerned
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Format: Paperback
This book was an early selection by the Round the World Book Group in Edinburgh. It is not a work of literature with beautiful writing to discuss, or with great characterisation. It simply tells a simple story. It is not the best book by John Irving which I have read. I would say - only read this one if you are an Irving fan, or if you are a completist.
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