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The Water-Method Man Mass Market Paperback – Jun 13 1990

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (June 13 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345367421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345367426
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #347,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"Brutal reality and hallucination, comedy and pathos. A rich, unified tapestry" Time "John Irving, it is abundantly clear, is a true artist. He is not afraid to take on great themes" Los Angeles Times "John Irving has been compared with Kurt Vonnegut and J. D. Salinger, but is arguably more inventive than either" The Times "Three or four times as funny as most novels" The New Yorker --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

The main character of John Irving's second novel, written when the author was twenty-nine, is a perpetual graduate student with a birth defect in his urinary tract--and a man on the threshold of committing himself to a second marriage that bears remarkable resemblance to his first....
"Three or four times as funny as most novels."
THE NEW YORKER

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Water Method Man" could easily be renamed "John Irving's Frankenstein". Bits of first-person and third-person narration, a movie script, and an Old Low Norse epic are patched together to form a book at times funny and other times almost unreadable. The end product is entertaining and probably too clever for its own good.
The story focuses on Fred "Bogus" Trumper, the shallow, immature man who fails at one marriage, almost fails at another relationship, becomes the subject of a mockumentary, and undergoes painful surgery to correct a rather sensitive defect (hence the title of the book). Throughout the tangled web of narratives, Bogus eventually grows up a little and is perhaps on the way to becoming a good husband and father.
For fans of Irving, this earlier work contains all the elements of any of his novels--Vienna, prostitutes, New England (everything except a bear). Having read the author's memoirs I know that at least some of the material is based loosely on Irving's own experiences. There are more humorous elements in this book than later ones like "The Cider House Rules" or "Prayer for Owen Meany"; I would say "Water Method" is the funniest of the Irving novels I've read to date.
The writing, the characters, the story are all vintage Irving--there's no point in discussing those. The problem is HOW the story is told. The setting changes so much that as a reader it's hard to get into the flow of the book until it's almost over. There were many times when I thought about just giving up and putting it back on the shelf, but I pressed ahead and--like Ian McEwan's "Atonement"--my patience was rewarded with a story that when pieced together is humorous and a little touching (for an Irving novel).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My first John Irving was The World According to Garp and I've gone backwards from that point, having not read any of his later works. After Garp, I read The 158-Pound Marriage and then Setting Free the Bears, both wonderful in their own ways, especially as a portrait of a developing novelist.
But it is with The Water Method Man the Irving really begins to blossom. All the quirky bits in the other novels really seem to flow together seamlessly here, in preparation for the magnum opus that would be Garp.
The Water-Method Man is the story of Fred "Bogus" Trumper and his two main relationships with women: his marriage to Biggie and his subsequent relationship with Tulpen. (I love Irving's way with names--these are definitely not going to be confused with anyone you know.)
Bogus failed at marriage and Irving implies that he is going down a similar path with Tulpen. His friend Ralph Packer is even documenting this fall on a film. The most interesting parts of the novel are actually those that take you out of the story for a moment. The POV changes throughout without warning: one moment Bogus is telling his story and with a paragraph change, it is being narrated about him. Along the way, Irving uses the epistolary format to tell part of the tale, and one chapter is, in its entirety, a transcript for the film.
The title refers to a penile problem Bogus has and how his doctor tries to remedy it. This is a minor subplot, but it feeds the character of Bogus in subtle ways. Irving's early novels are always funny, lightly so, not laugh-out-loud, and The Water-Method Man is no exception. It's not a quick read, but is well worth the time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My first John Irving was The World According to Garp and I've gone backwards from that point, having not read any of his later works. After Garp, I read The 158-Pound Marriage and then Setting Free the Bears, both wonderful in their own ways, especially as a portrait of a developing novelist.
But it is with The Water Method Man the Irving really begins to blossom. All the quirky bits in the other novels really seem to flow together seamlessly here, in preparation for the magnum opus that would be Garp.
The Water-Method Man is the story of Fred "Bogus" Trumper and his two main relationships with women: his marriage to Biggie and his subsequent relationship with Tulpen. (I love Irving's way with names--these are definitely not going to be confused with anyone you know.)
Bogus failed at marriage and Irving implies that he is going down a similar path with Tulpen. His friend Ralph Packer is even documenting this fall on a film. The most interesting parts of the novel are actually those that take you out of the story for a moment. The POV changes throughout without warning: one moment Bogus is telling his story and with a paragraph change, it is being narrated about him. Along the way, Irving uses the epistolary format to tell part of the tale, and one chapter is, in its entirety, a transcript for the film.
The title refers to a penile problem Bogus has and how his doctor tries to remedy it. This is a minor subplot, but it feeds the character of Bogus in subtle ways. Irving's early novels are always funny, lightly so, not laugh-out-loud, and The Water-Method Man is no exception. It's not a quick read, but is well worth the time.
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