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Owen Meany is a dwarfish boy with a strange voice who accidentally kills his best friend's mom with a baseball and believes--accurately--that he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom. John Irving's novel, which inspired the 1998 Jim Carrey movie Simon Birch, is his most popular book in Britain, and perhaps the oddest Christian mystic novel since Flannery O'Connor's work. Irving fans will find much that is familiar: the New England prep-school-town setting, symbolic amputations of man and beast, the Garp-like unknown father of the narrator (Owen's orphaned best friend), the rough comedy. The scene of doltish the doltish headmaster driving a trashed VW down the school's marble staircase is a marvelous set piece. So are the Christmas pageants Owen stars in. But it's all, as Highlights magazine used to put it, "fun with a purpose." When Owen plays baby Jesus in the pageants, and glimpses a tombstone with his death date while enacting A Christmas Carol, the slapstick doesn't cancel the fact that he was born to be martyred. The book's countless subplots add up to a moral argument, specifically an indictment of American foreign policy--from Vietnam to the Contras.
The book's mystic religiosity is steeped in Robertson Davies's Deptford trilogy, and the fatal baseball relates to the fatefully misdirected snowball in the first Deptford novel, Fifth Business. Tiny, symbolic Owen echoes the hero of Irving's teacher Günter Grass's The Tin Drum--the two characters share the same initials. A rollicking entertainment, Owen Meany is also a meditation on literature, history, and God. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Although he is convincing in his appraisal of the tragedy of Vietnam and in his religious philosophizing, "Irving's storytelling skills have gone seriously astray in this contrived, preachy, tedious tale of the eponymous Owen Meany, a latter-day prophet and Christ-like figure who dies a martyr after having inspired true Christian belief in the narrator Johnny Wheelwright," warned PW . Author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Just re-read "A Prayer..." and found it even more engaging than when I picked it up when it was first published. Irving's best - and that's high praise.Published 1 month ago by John Hudson
I bought this on CD. I really enjoyed it. It took a while to listen to the whole story. But I am glad I did. It all came together wonderfully. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tammy Calvert
Good story Johnny!! Enjoyed all the laughs and even got choked-up a couple times.
I want my own Owen! I'm not even the slightest bit religious.
I read John Irving's anti-war account when it was first published many years ago. Now that I am finding Kindle the ideal travelling companion
I am glad to have A Prayer for... Read more
I have never been a great fan of 'popular literature' and this novel underlines the reasons why this is so. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ronald W. Maron
This book had been recommended to me years ago but I had never gotten around to reading it. I'm not religious at all but Irving's message did not feel like proselytizing. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Sandy in Chapala
This is the only book I have read by this author, so I can't say anything about his other works, but this book was very good and I highly recommend it even if you are not a fan of... Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2013 by Joe
One of the best books of all time. Great writer great read. Good delivery fast and secure thank you for the book sir.Published on July 15 2013 by Anne Bottiglieri
I LOVED LOVED LOVED A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I buy it for every friend. It made me laugh so much and it made me smile all the time. Read more