Saturday, August 7, 2010
Irving achieved critical and popular acclaim after the international success of The World According to Garp in 1978. Some of Irving's novels, such as The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, have been bestsellers and many have been made into movies. Several of Irving's books (Garp, Meany, A Widow for One Year) and short stories have been set in and around Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire where Irving grew up as the son of an Exeter faculty member, Colin F.N. Irving (1941), and nephew of another, H. Hamilton "Hammy" Bissell (1929). (Both Irving and Bissell, and other members of the Exeter community, appear somewhat disguised in many of his novels.)
Irving was in the Exeter wrestling program both as a wrestler and as an assistant coach, and wrestling features prominently in his books, stories and life.
He won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for 1999 for his script of The Cider House Rules.
Mary & Sandy
I spent the entire summer in 1990 reading Owen Meany. I could not put it down. I got up every morning went out to the back yard and picked up where I left off the afternoon before. I forget how long it took me but, I think, I did nothing else til I finished it.
A Prayer for Owen Meany is a novel by American writer John Irving, first published in 1989. It tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small New England town during the 1950-60s. Owen is a remarkable boy in many ways; he believes himself to be God's instrument and journeys on a truly extraordinary path.
Sandy Carlson of Writing in Faith and I (she's reading the novel now and I will be teaching it in the Fall) thought we'd dedicate a blog to Owen Meany, one of the most unusual characters in American fiction.
So get yourself a copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany and begin. It's 600+ pages. Wait, wait don't go. We promise you you will never forget Owen meany and his story.
We will talk about anything having to do with Owen, his author, the themes, the symbols, the events in the book.
Here are a couple of quotes from the novel: