John Irving is without a doubt, one of the most successful authors of the previous 100 years, with economic success and critical praise.
Five of John Irving’s novels have been adapted into films, including “A Cider House Rules” and “A Prayer For Owen Meany”.
If you’re a voracious reader, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t check out his collection of books that we have outlined in this article.
Best John Irving Books
1. A Prayer for Owen Meany
John Irving’s seventh novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, is his seventh book. It chronicles the tale of John Wheelwright and his closest buddy Owen Meany growing up in a tiny New Hampshire village during the 1950s and 1960s, and was published in 1989.
Owen is a remarkable child in many respects, according to John’s narrative; he feels he is God’s instrument and sets out to fulfil the doom he has predicted for himself.
The Tin Drum, Günter Grass’s most renowned novel, is also referenced in the story. Grass was both a tremendous influence and a personal friend to John Irving.
Owen Meany and Oskar Matzerath, the main protagonists in both novels, have the same initials and share several other features, and their storylines have some similarities. The parallels have been confirmed by Irving. A Prayer for Owen Meany, on the other hand, has its own storyline.
2. The Cider House Rules
The Cider House Rules (1985), a Bildungsroman by American writer John Irving, was made into a film (1999) and a stage play by Peter Parnell.
The narrative follows Homer Wells, a young man growing up under the supervision of Dr. Wilbur Larch, an obstetrician and abortionist, in the pre- and post-World War II era.
Homer’s early years are chronicled in Larch’s orphanage in Maine, and the tale follows him as he grows up and leaves the nest.
3. The Hotel New Hampshire
The Hotel New Hampshire is John Irving’s fifth published novel, and it is a coming-of-age story set in 1981.
The Berrys, a quirky New Hampshire family comprised of a married couple, Win and Mary, and their five children, Frank, Franny, John, Lilly, and Egg, are the focus of this tale.
During the Nazi period, The Hotel New Hampshire takes place in hotels in New England and Vienna. The tale is recounted from John’s perspective.
Tony Richardson directed a cinematic adaptation of the novel in 1984.
4. A Widow for One Year
A Widow for One Year was released in 1998, making it his seventh novel.
The novel’s first third was turned into the 2004 film The Door in the Floor.
Ruth Cole is a “difficult” lady who is complicated and frequently contradicting. She isn’t “nice” in the traditional sense, but she will be remembered.
Ruth’s tale is divided into three sections, each concentrating on a different period of her life. Ruth is four years old when we first meet her on Long Island in the summer of 1958.
Ruth’s second window into her life opens in the fall of 1990, when she is an unmarried woman with a personal life that isn’t quite as successful as her writing career. She has a healthy skepticism of men’s judgement.
Ruth Cole is a forty-one-year-old widow and mother when A Widow for One Year ends in the autumn of 1995. She’s going to experience her first love.
It’s both richly funny and terribly frightening. A Widow for One Year is a complex love story with incredible emotional power. It’s a great work about the passage of time and the relentlessness of loss that’s both ribald and sensual.
5. The World According to Garp
The World According to Garp is John Irving’s fourth novel, about a man who grows up to be a writer after being born out of wedlock to a feminist leader.
The book was a success for several years after it was published in 1978. In 1979, it was a nominee for the National Book Award for Fiction, and the following year, its first paperback version won the award.
Since its release in 1978, Irving’s masterpiece has been a worldwide success, with stories inside stories about T. S. Garp, author and bastard son of Jenny Fields, a feminist pioneer ahead of her time.
The World According to Garp is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story that established John Irving as one of his generation’s most creative writers.
Since its release in 1978, Irving’s masterpiece has been a worldwide success, with stories inside stories about the lives and times of T. S. Garp, author and bastard son. The World According to Garp defies categorization.
6. A Son of the Circus
John Irving’s book A Son of the Circus was published in 1994. It was a return to his first publisher, Random House, where Irving had published his first three books.
Despite the fact that the novel is set in Mumbai, India, and includes a detailed description of the “Great Blue Nile” circus, the novel has several additional plot lines.
The main character, Farrokh Daruwalla, is maturing in his human knowledge, which is a major plot thread.
A criminal tale is included in the novel, which connects the other plotlines.
7. Trying to Save Piggy Sneed
Trying to Save Piggy Sneed is a collection of short stories first published in 1996 by Arcade Publishing. It contains twelve pieces of literature separated into three categories: memoirs, fiction, and homage.
8. Last Night in Twisted River
An nervous twelve-year-old kid mistaken the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear in the cookhouse of a forestry and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire in 1954.
Both the twelve-year-old and his father are compelled to flee Coos County, fleeing to Boston, southern Vermont, and Toronto, all while being chased by the ruthless policeman.
Their only defender is a ferociously libertarian logger who formerly worked as a river driver and befriended them.
Last Night in Twisted River, John Irving‘s twelfth novel, presents the previous half-century in the United States as “a living copy of Coos County, where fatal hatreds were typically allowed to take their course,” in a narrative spanning five decades.
Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical accuracy and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, from the novel’s taut opening sentence – “The young Canadian, who couldn’t have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long” – to its elegiac final chapter.
It’s also as vicious and frightening as The World According to Garp, John Irving’s breakout bestseller.
9. In One Person
In One Person is a fascinating novel about desire, concealment, and sexual identity. It’s a narrative about unfulfilled love that’s tortured, hilarious, and poignant, as well as an ardent embracing of our sexual diversity.
Billy, the bisexual narrator and major character of In One Person, narrates the tragicomic narrative of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a word used by John Irving in 1978 in his seminal novel The World According to Garp, about “terminal cases.”
John Irving’s In One Person is a touching tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers, a theatrical cast of characters that transcend categorization and tradition, and is his most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany.
Last but not least, In One Person is an intimate and memorable portrayal of a bisexual man’s solitude as he strives to make himself “worthwhile.”
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