The World According to Garp: A Novel (Paperback)
From the opening scene I could tell this book was going to be a hilarious commentary on human behavior, sexuality, and relationships. Arguably John Irving's best novel, The World According to Garp takes place in the ‘60s and ‘70s, following the life of T.S. Garp, his childhood sweetheart, Helen, their two children, and his struggles with his “ahead of her time” feminist mother, Jenny Fields. Though ridiculous and outlandish at times, Irving’s characters are dysfunctional yet endearing, with personality traits just authentic enough that I wanted to know more and more after every page. Through being risque and witty the novel touches on deeper themes of what it means to be a struggling artist, raising kids, the inner workings of a marriage and relationship, the patriarchy, and gender roles. With the use of fast-paced narration, Irving captures the complexity of the human condition in a highly entertaining way. If you’re a fan of John Irving and haven’t read this book, what’re you doing? Get on that.
Check out the audiobook.— From Snazzy September Staff Picks
Winner of the National Book Award
“Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it.” —The New Republic
“Wonderful . . . full of energy and art, at once funny and horrifying and heartbreaking.” —Washington Post
Powerful and political, with unforgettable characters and timeless themes, The World According to Garp is John Irving’s breakout novel. The precursor of Irving’s later protest novels, it is the story of Jenny, an unmarried nurse who becomes a single mom and a feminist leader, beloved but polarizing—and of her son, Garp, less beloved but no less polarizing.
From the tragicomic tone of its first sentence to its mordantly funny last line—“we are all terminal cases”—The World According to Garp maintains a breakneck pace. The subject of sexual hatred and violence—of intolerance of sexual minorities, and sexual differences—runs through the book, as relevant now as ever. Available in more than forty countries—with more than ten million copies in print—Garp is a comedy with forebodings of doom.
About the Author
JOHN IRVING, born in Exeter, New Hampshire, published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, when he was twenty-six. His most popular novel, worldwide, is A Prayer for Owen Meany, published in 1989. In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2012, he won the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction for In One Person. In 2018, he was the recipient of a Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Richard C. Holbrooke Award for Distinguished Achievement. Mr. Irving competed as a wrestler for twenty years and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. He is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. John Irving lives in Toronto.
Praise for John Irving and The World According to Garp
“John Irving, it is abundantly clear, is a true artist.” —Los Angeles Times
“A brilliant panoply of current attitudes toward sex, marriage and parenthood, the feminist movement and—above all—the concept of delineated sexual roles . . . Irving's characters will stay alive for years to come.” —Chicago Tribune
“A social tragi-comedy of such velocity that it reads rather like a domestic sequel to Catch-22.” —The Observer (London)
“A large talent announces itself on practically every page.” —The Book of the Month Club News