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Last Night in Twisted River Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Oct 20 2009


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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, Oct 20 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 20 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307398366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307398369
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #122,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samantha TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 7 2011
Format: Paperback
The novel began like a poem, a sad, true poem about the waning days of logging. It didn't continue with the same beauty, but it was a great tale of a camp cook and his son encountering tragedy and running from the possible consequences of an accident. The often over-the-top story line in Last Night was made almost believable because of Irving's amazing ability to bring his characters to life. The four generation story of ordinary life back-dropped with melodrama was made especially interesting for me when I found out that some of it was somewhat auto-biographical. Also, the news (for me) that he writes from beginning to end (after writing the last sentence of the book first) without a rewrite explains a lot. There was some poorly integrated scenes and some ineffective repetition that an editor should have nixed. Because he spent very little time characterizing the last generation son, it seemed uneven. However, I am always eager to read the next sentence that John Irving writes. It is always an adventure.
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By Genio on March 29 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beautifully written and populated with interesting well developed characters. The novel demonstrates so well how a large or small decision once made influences the rest of one's life and the life of those around you and how the future is tied to the past so that some things simply become inevitable.
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Format: Paperback
There used to be times when writers made their autobiographical novels happier and more satisfactory than their actual fate had been. Memories of good people and happy moments were supposed to compensate for their disappointments of life. Irving, on the contrary, says that he gave to his hero-writer the worst fate imaginable, a fate, which thankfully Irving himself didn't have.
An author, certainly, has the right to give any kind of life to his characters that he wants, but where, then, is any wisdom, catharsis or joy, which, supposedly, would attract the reader to the writer?
I didn't like reading this book. One would take it better if it were cleaner and clearer. I was irritated by Irving's calling his characters by their profession or by their age. E.g.(she)" believed Ketchum had loved the cook even more than the logger once loved Rosie." Would you guess that Ketchum and the logger is the same peson?
The ending is wrong. Considering that the book is full of tragedies(Danny - the writer, and every woman in it lost a child), it would be fitting if Danny had drawned in the snow storm when he went to meet Amy.
As it had not happened, one must believe that they lived happily ever after, hopefully enjoying the political development in their ex-country to the brim.
There are interesting recipes and cooking instuctions in this book.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gary R. Munn on Nov. 21 2009
Format: Hardcover
I guess John Irving must be an acquired taste. He hasn't had really great reviews on some of his books since Garp. Personally, I love his books. His quirky characters are always memorable, and more are created here. I was especially glad to see a return of a bear, wrestling, and Exeter Academy!! I look for them in every book Irving writes. In my opinion, one of the Great American Authors!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on Jan. 17 2010
Format: Hardcover
John Irving's novels are in a class by themselves. There is no mistaking his stories for anyone else's and this is one of the reasons I've always loved them. Yes, Irving tells essentially the same story in each novel but I think his talent lies in being able to sell you that story every time. It can be comforting to read one of his novels and recognize the recurring elements as you go. Last Night in Twisted River, then, is the ultimate comfort read for Irving fans; it has nearly every one of his favourite 'Irvingisms' - I think Vienna and prostitutes are the only ones he left out.

This overabundance of recurring elements is, I believe, both the book's greatest asset and its greatest weakness. The first third felt like vintage Irving, bringing back memories of Owen Meany and The World According to Garp. The final third was nearly as good and the chapter called 'Lady Sky' was brilliant. It would almost work on its own as a short story and is, for me, the most memorable part of the novel.

The middle of the book is where things took a turn for the worse. The timeline became too confusing to keep straight and so many of those 'Irvingisms' showed up that it became almost eye-rollingly predictable. If you've read all of the classic Irving novels, it's difficult not to make those connections and see what's coming next.

Here's what bothered me most about this novel: in The World According to Garp, what I really loved were the original stories that Garp wrote. In Twisted River, Irving develops a very similar character in Daniel but rather than original work, the plots of Daniel's novels bear a remarkable resemblance to those of Irving's early novels (and are released in almost the same order).
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Judith B on Dec 3 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had a hard go with this book. John Irving and I have a "twisted" relationship, in that I love some books (Cider House Rules) and...others, not so much. What put me off from the get-go in this one was what I am calling "editing errors," where was the copy editor when major errors like a contusion the size of a baseball arising on a woman's head...after she was dead!? Or, the use of home clothes dryers in a cookhouse in the NH backwoods...in 1954? Not very likely. Or, no police investigation when a logger is drowned or an Indian woman "disappears." There might have been reasons for all of this--and Mr. Irving strives hard to give us reasons--but the overall effect is of causing us to lose interest or to get annoyed or to wish we hadn't paid full price for the book. Sadly, although Irving does quirky characters extraordinarily well, this book reads like a well-known author who isn't getting the editing he needs and deserves anymore, and it's showing up in the errors and inconsistencies in the text. What comes across then, instead of a seamless quirkiness that is pleasure to read, it reads more like "I have a kooky plot I want to use, now let's see if I can bend and twist the characters and events to fit my plot." When this works, it's brilliant. When it's a half-hearted affair, like Last Night in Twisted River, it's very disappointing.
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