— John Irving
“You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed.” - John Irving
Birthday boy (March 2, 1942) novelist John Irving is still passing the open windows on this, his 71st birthday.
I don’t feel anything about me as a kid was unique. Except that I had more interest in being alone and using my imagination.
The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.
John Irving has a new novel In One Person: A Novel . I started reading him, like many people, with The World According to Garp but then I went back and read his three earlier novels in order: Setting Free the Bears, The Water-Method Man, and The 158-Pound Marriage which deal with many of the ideas that really bloomed in Garp.
John Irving has said:
In my opinion, no overview of my novels is better written or more insightful than the Introduction Terrence Des Pres wrote to Three By Irving, which published in one volume my first three novels… No such thesis written on my fiction has meant as much to me—before or since.
Irving’s official site http://john-irving.com
John Irving was born John Wallace Blunt Jr. in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. By the time he was two years old, his parents had divorced and he never heard from his father again. (Hello Mr. Garp!) His mother eventually remarried and gave him his stepfather’s last name, Irving.
His first three books were received well by critics, but didn’t sell well. His fourth novel was his first popular success and is still one of my favorite novels. The World According to Garp (1978), is about the fatherless son of a radical feminist. The absence of a parent, especially the father, is a recurring theme in Irving’s work.
In 1981, his mother gave him a stack of letters that she had kept from him, letters that Irving’s father had written during World War II. Irving learned that his father was an Air Force pilot, and had been shot down over Burma. It was also the first time he realized that his father had wanted to keep in touch with him; he considered tracking his father down, but didn’t want to hurt his stepfather. Instead, he used some of his father’s stories in his book The Cider House Rules.
In One Person is his newest novel (due out in May) and is billed as “his most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany… an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself ‘worthwhile.’ “