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Last Night in Twisted River Paperback – Jun 15 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (June 15 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307398374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307398376
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.1 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 

"Last Night in Twisted River is a novel of excellence. This big-hearted, brilliantly written and superbly realised inter-generational tale of a father and son on the lam, and their flawed protector, stands comparison with the very best of Irving's previous work. It is absolutely unmissable." Irvine Welsh, Financial Times

"Last Night in Twisted River mulls the crises that steep Irving's finest work, from Garp to Owen Meany to Widow. Yet the scale here is more human, and his approach more humane, than anything that's come before." Los Angeles Times

"One of Mr. Irving's more powerful works." The New York Times

"Irving both tickles the narrative palate of saga—and suspense—lovers, and guides us gently down the paths of unaccustomed thought on civility, politics and art. . . . Irving always keeps one foot in the fairy-tale forest. Fate and kinship—by blood or choice— entwine as intimately in his books as they ever did in Dickens." The Independent

About the Author

JOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times--winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story "Interior Space." In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person. An international writer--his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages--John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany. Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
"Like a long slowly moving hearse, the maroon semiwoodie took the haul road out of the settlement. As they drove south-south-east, sometimes within sight of Twisted River, the dawn was fast approaching."

I was eager for this book, and planned to take in on my holidays earlier this year with me. The book is five hundred and fifty four pages, but that's okay because I like fat books which hold my attention.

The book centres around Dominic a cook who sets up his business in a Sawmill settlement accompanied by his young son Daniel, who one night kills the girlfriend of the constable thinking she was a bear. Afterwards the chase is on for they must leave immediately. They move from New Hampshire to Boston, Vermont, Toronto and then back to New Hampshire all the while opening restaurants as they flee.
The action and intrigue I looked for was not there to the magnitude that I expected. They were far too comfortable in their running away and the suspense was missing.

Otherwise, Mr. Irving painted some very interesting and colourful characters, and because of them I continued to read. SLOW-PACED
Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar - July 10th, 2010
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