The Hotel New Hampshire – Papercuts.co

The First Of My Father S Illusions Was That Bears Could Survive The Life Lived By Human Beings, And The Second Was That Human Beings Could Survive A Life Led In Hotels So Says John Berry, Son Of A Hapless Dreamer, Brother To A Cadre Of Eccentric Siblings, And Chronicler Of The Lives Lived, The Loves Experienced, The Deaths Met, And The Myriad Strange And Wonderful Times Encountered By The Family Berry Hoteliers, Pet Bear Owners, Friends Of Freud The Animal Trainer And Vaudevillian, That Is , And Playthings Of Mad Fate, They Dream On In A Funny, Sad, Outrageous, And Moving Novel By The Remarkable Author Of A Prayer For Owen Meany And Last Night In Twisted River


10 thoughts on “The Hotel New Hampshire

  1. says:

    If you haven t read Irving yet, I think you should give him a try This novel isn t one of his big three , but it s damn good.First off, most Irving novels have some general characteristics They typically have a Dickensian plot, in which you follow the characters through large portions of their lives The breadth of the novel typically goes through one generational span, but often you ll get at least a few beginning chapters detailing the lives of the protagonist s parents or grandparents, as well Irving writes of these lives through story telling He wants his readers to really get to know his characters I ve never read an Irving novel that didn t have, in my judgment, superb character development Characters from Irving novels I read years ago still leap out at me I still feel they are real, and that I know them I have a love for them Irving rarely describes the internalized thoughts and emotions of his characters Instead he gives the reader insight into their personalities through their reactions, styles, comments, loves, hates, interactions, and all around preferences He can do this because his descriptions and stories are very detailed and tend to be true to the universal life experiences we ve all had in dealing with, and observing, people Irving lets these personalities play themselves out, and trusts that the reader will come to understand the inner core of the character as that character continues to get revealed These characters are often wacky but in a likeable way They make you laugh Yet his protagonists are typically men who are easily relatable flawed, but likable Typically the strong hero esque roles are filled by women with strong personalities but not always When Irving s host of motley characters interact ironic, tragic, comical, over the top, bizarre things happen It doesn t seem far fetched at the time at least not to an Irving fan , because the characters are still believable, and the events that take place are simply extensions of their quirky personalities Weird fates usually happen to weird people, right It d be weird if that weren t the case, but now we re just playing word games There are a number of common themes that run through his novels New England, Vienna, bears, prostitution, absent parents, the death of main characters, wrestling, sexual deviances, to name a few Irving pushes the boundaries of ridiculousness The reader needs to have an appreciation for the absurd, and develop a level of trust with the author, because just about anything can happen Likewise, having a trace of megalomania within, certainly doesn t hurt especially when, at the end of the novel you find that some characters have become rock stars, famous writers, hollywood actors actresses, etc Or perhaps they die or have something happen to a sex organ, or you get it, right And lastly, John Irving novels deal with important subject matters abortion, faith, rape, fidelity, sexuality, war, the list goes on When writing of this novel, another reviewer wrote this Once the novel jumps the shark, you realize Irving has all along been cruel and insensitive on every page of the book on the subject of rape, on the idea of sibling sexual attraction, on the adoption of feminist concept, on political dissent, on prostitution, and on the lives of little people I couldn t disagree Irving is very even handed and sensitive when it comes to these topics He, in fact, deals with them so humanly, delicately, and skillfully, that he s able to use dark humor as a way of comforting the reader Trust me he never downplays important subject matters he treats them the way great authors do with consideration, compassion, and heart.And that brings me to the big issue that it s in this novel, which is rape There s an early chapter that details a gang rape, and it s one of the most disturbing, soul wrenching chapters I ve ever read in my life hands down The effects of rape recur throughout the novel It doesn t just effect the victim, but the families and friends of the victim, as well, and all in different ways In The Cider House Rules Irving personalized abortion for me giving me a sick feeling in the gut when faced with the accounts of women who had to make that difficult choice before it was legal In The Hotel New Hampshire Irving personalized the horror of rape in the same soul shaking way.Some believe this book is too wacky and unbelievable, even for Irving Wild love triangles, incestual romantic love, two bears, a jewish performer named Freud, living in hotels, characters going blind, radicals, screwed up taxidermy, dwarfs, lots of prostitutes As said earlier, for me, most of the odd misadventures involved are not unrealistic, but rather natural manifestations of the novels quirky but realistic characters All the wild things that happen keep it entertaining But some of the scenes do seem out of place like they were thrown into the larger story in an unnatural fashion The only other small qualm I have is that Irving overdoes the storytelling from time to time When he artfully and heartfully gets into stories that relate to the novels general themes, the novel wins But when the novel gets bogged down in detailed accounts of irrelevant side stories, it loses This novel could have been 50 to 75 pages shorter, and probably better for it.I only bring these two issues up to explain why I didn t give this novel five stars, despite my strong reaction to it, and despite my love for it It s still a damn good book, and you should still read it or at least pick up an Irving novel, if you haven t I ll tell you for a third and fourth time if I have to It was the end of the summer of 1964 I hadn t been in the United States since 1957, and I knew less about my country than some of the Viennese students knew I also knew less about Vienna than any of them I knew about my family, I knew about our whores, and our radicals I was an expert on The Hotel New Hampshire and an amateur at everything else Ultimately this novel is about acceptance, and valuing the time you have on earth with those worthy of your love It s special how Irving makes this novel work like an almost magical piece of artwork, everything comes together to make a beautiful whole.


  2. says:

    Win slow Berry, is a dreamer never satisfied with life, as it is Always wanting to climb over the hill, to see what s on the other side It will always be better, over there An unhappy childhood with only one parent, to raise him, a physical fitness fanatic, rather cold but a good man The single father Bob Coach Bob , his wife having died, giving birth to Win The dedicated football coach at the prep school, in Dairy, New Hampshire, called unimaginatively, the Dairy School A second rate institution, for boys thrown out of superior ones, or not even able to get in them in the first place Without the school, the small town would cease to exist Win has no brothers or sisters, a lonely boy, very intelligent but nevertheless an unfortunate one His life really begins in 1939, at a resort hotel, The Arbuthnot by the Sea, in Maine, there he falls in love with Mary Bates, also from Dairy, they had kept away, from each other She attended Thompson Female Seminary, Win, the name he prefers of course the Dairy School, both are employees, at the hotel, during the summer There they meet Freud, just his nickname, folks not the famous psychoanalyst An animal trainer, who has a bear act, performing nightly, outside the Arbuthnot, while the guests, are having dinner a little unsettling State O Maine, the 400 lbs bear loves the motorcycle He sits in the sidecar, as Freud drives, scaring people , just the timid even doing a dance The young couple, get engaged and become great friends with Freud, who had encouraged the union, both are 19 Win goes to Harvard, but first he buys the bear and the motorcycle, from Freud , he unwisely, returns to his native Austria The animal act, with State O Maine, Win calls the old bear Earl, is rather shall we say, not the best Taking two long years before he has enough money, to get back to Harvard Children arrive very quickly, Frank, Franny, John the narrator of our story , Lilly and Egg don t ask Bang, bang, bang, etc., as Franny would say, many times afterwards, the eccentric family, is complete Later, the father tells them stories, that maybe are not quite true, but still fun to hear, better than the mother s, she doesn t lie After serving safely, in World War Two, at an Air Base, in Italy Win not really an accurate name for him, returns home, graduates from Harvard, gets a job, where else, but the Dairy School, teaching English And soon buys the closed Thompson Female Seminary, the Dairy School, finally letting girls in The dreamer starts The Hotel New Hampshire , few customers though in the crummy hotel, it will not be the last one, he tries to run The novel has incest, rape, terrorists, midgets, whores, and tragedies And comic situations, a girl in a bear suit , how cool, after all this is really a comedy, believe it or not If you enjoy novels that are different , maybe over the top from the norm, The Hotel New Hampshire will be for you.


  3. says:

    The Hotel New Hampshire is book five in my John Irving Challenge, wherein I am attempting to read all of John Irving s novels in under a year s time On with the review.Incest is the best Oof Just typing that made my stomach flip Incest is one of my only triggers That and the death of very young children, kids between zero and five, their deaths just fucking wreck me, man Incest just makes me feel ill It s a core reaction Not sure where the aversion stems from, if it s natural or learned, but yeah, yuck John Irving s fifth novel was a challenging read for me It made me reevaluate how I looked at consensual incest family members who are a over the age of consent and b horny for each other My final opinion on it hasn t changed, but it did make me consider what my stance on the subject should be, on a moral level And my conclusion is, I will treat it like I treat the topic of abortion More on that in a minute The Hotel New Hampshire is a fantastically written book The level of emotional detail is stunning It s heartbreaking and thought provoking and all those other back cover blurbs But the thing that impacted me the most was not to my liking That is the aforementioned incest And, unfortunately, that is what I feel will stay with me the longest But why is that Let s talk about it.Why should I care what grown people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms I don t agree with abortion, but I understand that s not my fucking place to speak At the end of the day, how I feel about abortion does not matter For one, I m a man I ll never have to put my body through a pregnancy Secondly, I feel that abortion is a far better option than a child being raised by people who do not want it, or being raised in the system, or being raised in any other toxic environment Thirdly, it s none of my business what other people do with their own bodies Is that the same thing as the first reason Probably, but I feel it bears repeating So, other than it being illegal, is incest wrong if it is between two consenting adults who shivers want each other sexually Fuck if I know This discussion is too multi layered for my pea brain to tackle, so I m taking the abortion stance route As long as it doesn t affect me, do whatever the fuck you want Prolly best if you keep that shit on the DL though, just sayin.With or without the incest, this is a great read I never once wanted to put it down Due to that alone, I feel that I cannot award it any less than four stars The only reason I m giving it four instead of five is because I was disturbed, to my core, by John and Franny s relationship I enjoyed nothing about it Irving went too far, I feel, but all good literature does I simply can t say it was a perfect read when I was dreading whole sections.Even as I type this I m flip flopping But I think I ll stick with four stars I honestly want to give it five, but I know the family play will put some people off as much as it put me off Yeah, okay, whatever, four stars Maybe.Okay, for today it s four stars Tomorrow Who the fuck knows.In summation A four star read in a five star package The Hotel New Hampshire is wonderfully written and affecting If you can handle sex between siblings, give it a try It s not the entire plot, but it does take up much of the last fourth of the book Final Judgment I can honestly say this is the best book with an incestuous relationship that I ve read.


  4. says:

    So we dream on Thus we invent our lives We give ourselves a sainted mother, we make our father a hero and someone s older brother, and someone s older sister they become our heroes, too We invent what we love, and what we fear There is always a brave, lost brother and a little lost sister, too We dream on and on the best hotel, the perfect family, the resort life And our dreams escape us almost as vividly as we can imagine them I have started writing this review four, five times I can t remember any Each time, I get a few lines into it, and realize I m falling terribly short of what I really want to say This novel broke my heart It is beautiful and lyrical and warm and funny and it broke my fucking heart, with each and every paragraph, every word That s really all I can say about it Read it You have to keep passing the open windows.


  5. says:

    It is hard work and great art to make life not so serious If you have read John Irving before you know his work is bizarre, too tidy usually and not realistic, and if you can get over that aspect then you have a chance of enjoying his work He is hit or miss for me I have read a couple of his I enjoyed, and a few I have loathed I have noticed that those I dislike are ones he has written in the last 20 years The Hotel New Hampshire has all the usual Irving characteristics a story that takes place over many years, a sprawling cast list, some ridiculous plot contrivances, a little too much familial love for my tastes, a homoerotic fixation with male physiques and oddball characters And in this text, I was okay with that.I cannot really tell you why I liked this book, but I did It took me about 50 60 pages to get into it and invest a little, but I did and then I was in I am not sure I can pinpoint a thematic significance to the text it was just a family saga And that is a significant thing to write about For most of us that is the stuff our daily lives are made of As one character says of the details of daily life, Thus we invent our lives The Hotel New Hampshire follows the Berry family from the initial meeting of the parents at a resort in Maine thru the middle age of the surviving offspring of the marriage that springs from that summer fling in Maine I have been told this text has a lot in common with The World According to Garp , which I have not read The second son in the family is our narrator John Berry seems rather unflinching in his evaluations of himself, and those he loves It is somewhat refreshing to read a novel whose narrator I don t think has an agenda The plot is sprawling, we go from New England to Maine to Austria, to NYC and back to Maine It is quite a trip.The book is a mix of some really lovely writing and some fun storytelling elements, and sometimes the two elements even mix together I have not said a lot that is important about this text It is a good read, and a unique story There are not many people writing like this, and this novel from 1981 is one of the better pieces of John Irving s that I have read.


  6. says:

    The Hotel New Hampshire John Irving s Fairy Tale of Life A dream is fulfillment of a wish The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund FreudOne of the benefits of having your favorite professor of psychology as your next door neighbor is learning that he is a very widely read man We are an odd pair, I suppose He is 76 I am 59 But through the years we have known one another we have become best friends We frequently exchange books the other has not read.It is safe to say that Howard is fond of literature that some might find quirky That s fine with me That which is quirky can be quite fascinating Howard can also be subject to a touch of hyperbole So when he handed me his copy of The Hotel New Hampshire, declaring it the finest book written in the English language, I graciously accepted it, not revealing the grain of salt I reserved for his high accolade.While I would not proclaim The Hotel New Hampshire the finest book written in the English language, it is a book I came to love with the passage of each page Quirky Oh, there s no question about it Iowa Bob Berry is the football coach of Dairy Prep School in Dairy, New Hampshire The school doesn t quite make the top tier of preparatory schools in New England, but it serves its purpose for the wealthy whose children don t fall into the top tier of students that attend the top tier schools It comes, then, rather a surprise that Iowa Bob s son, Win,is Harvard material The problem is, that although he has been accepted to attend it s going to take hard work to earn the money to afford the tuition.Now,Dairy Prep is an all boys school It comes as no surprise that Win s girl of his dreams is unknown to him although they live in the same town However, after graduation, the two nineteen year olds spend their summer working at Arbuthnot by the Sea, a resort in Maine Nor does it come as a surprise that the two fall in love over that wondrous summer.There is definitely a fairy tale quality to the courtship of Win Berry and Mary Bates, the daughter of a very scholarly family Another employee at Arbuthnot is Freud, not Sigmund, of course, but Freud a mechanic, who entertains the guests with the antics of pet bear, State O Maine who rides a 1937 Indian Motorcycle At the end of summer, 1939, Freud announces he s returning to his home in Vienna, not a wise thing to do He sells the motorcycle and the bear to Win for 200.00 for Win s promises he marry Mary, attend Harvard, and one day will apologize to Mary for an event Freud does not reveal.Win makes good on the first promise quickly Win and Mary begin to be fruitful between the entertainment seasons during which Win is earning his tuition at various resorts with the use of the Indian and the Bear World War II puts a hitch in Win s enrollment at Harvard However, he returns safely, graduates from Harvard and takes a teaching position at Dairy, now a coed facility.The Berry children are Frank, Franny, John Harvard, Lilly, and the youngest,known as Egg John, the middle child, narrates the novel in first person Win quickly becomes dissatisfied with his teaching position He buys the now vacant female seminary to convert it to a hotel as there is no other in Dairy.I ve mentioned that Irving s novel has a fairy tale quality to it It s necessary to remember that there are the lighter tales of Hans Christian Anderson and there is the darker side of the genre by the Brothers Grimm As the story of the Berry clan proceeds, it is evident that Irving has chosen to follow the Grimm route.Frank is gay He is targeted for humiliation by the backfield of the Dairy football team, quarterbacked by Chip Dove The same backfield rapes Franny She refuses to report that she has been raped, but minimizes the attack by saying she had been beaten up Lilly has a rare disorder which prevents her from growing Egg is practically deaf following a series of ear infections.Win receives an offer to sell the Hotel And who should appear to offer the Berry family a change of scenery but Freud, now the owner of a hotel in Vienna, Austria Win is his pick to help improve his gasthaus to the level of a fine hotel.Freud could use the help It s an odd establishment One floor is occupied by prostitutes, who may ply their trade legally in Vienna Another floor is occupied by a group of radicals, despising the old order and anything smacking of tradition Win has his work cut out for him Freud has obtained a smarter bear, Susie She s considerably smarter than State O Maine She happens to be a young woman who does a divine impression of a bear, not only serving as an entertainer, but a body guard for the ladies of the evening upstairs And, oh, yes, Susie was the victim of sexual assault as well She considers herself ugly, and is content to hide behind the bear suit The Hotel New Hampshire was written and directed by Tony Richardson for the screen in 1984.The radicals upstairs are a dangerous group They plan to set off an automobile bomb which will cause a sympathetic bomb under the stage of the Vienna Opera House on the premiere night of the fall season I leave it to the reader to discern whether the attempt is successful,or not, and who lives and who dies The Vienna Opera HouseThe Berry family return to the United States Lilly has written a best seller Trying to Grow This deus ex machina allows the Berrys to live a comfortable life, though all of life s normal travails continue to follow them through out their lives.As Irving tells us, sorrow, love, and doom float through each of our lives It s how we each handle those unavoidable currents that determine the satisfaction of our lives.Iowa Bob, training John Harvard to be a weight lifter, put him on a strict regimen of exercise You have to be obsessed Obsessed Keep passing those open windows Having lived approaching sixty years, I d have to say you can t live just standing still Some dreams become wishes which are fulfilled Some are not Just persevere.I have read a number of reviews of The Hotel New Hampshire You will certainly find its detractors here Those unfavorable reviews note the dysfunctional nature of the Berry family Similar reviews find Irving s emphasis on sexual assault unnerving While I ve noted Irving s fairy tale nature of storytelling in this novel, life isn t a fairy tale The events described in Irving s novel happen all too frequently As a bit of a post script, I have to say Irving did his research on the dynamics of sexual assault and its effects on survivors Yes, sorrow also floats.


  7. says:

    This is one of my favorite books of all time, and is for what it s worth my favorite John Irving book in a world where everyone else picks The World According to Garp It s the perfect blend of sad and sweet and strange, a combination that is quite difficult to pull off Irving himself doesn t always manage that trifecta successfully in his other works The story is about the travails and boy, are there travails of the Berry family of New Hampshire, in running the titular hotel and what follows bears, Austria and wrestling are all involved, because John Irving Someone quoted, Keep passing the open windows to me the other day, and I almost cried because I love this book so freaking much and if you ve read it, you get it It was also turned into a surprisingly faithful and underrated movie in the 1980 s starring Beau Bridges, Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe.


  8. says:

    One of my most revelatory professional discoveries is also stupidly simple It s this, courtesy of Bob Probst Reading is a selfish venture.It is Of course it is I m disappointed in myself for not realizing it earlier, because it s a principle probably one of the top two or three that guides my work with pre service English teachers, and it would ve transformed the way I taught English in high school I was reminded of the selfishness of the reading enterprise as I made my way through John Irving s The Hotel New Hampshire, on which in a couple minutes.Here s why it s important to consider the solipsistic nature of reading, especially for the teachers in my audience We read, let s say 99% of the time, for our own reasons and purposes We certainly do this when we read for pleasure, but even professional reading is done for specific personal reasons I pick up a novel to get lost in the characters, to savor the author s use of language, to find myself carried along by plot and conflict when I conduct research for an article I m writing, my personal reasons look very different, but the act of scouring journals and other texts for salient information is also highly personal, and how it looks depends on what I m writing In both cases, I m reading for my reasons, and this holds true for just about everyone, no matter what they read.School is the only place where people are regularly called on to read for external reasons over which they have no control They want to score well on the quiz, write the paper, contribute to the discussion and the parameters for success on all those activities are probably set by the teacher In my experience, students are rarely encouraged to read for their own purposes, which is a direct contradiction of the way people read in the world outside of and beyond school We read what interests us or, if we re not sure if something interests us, we bring our own experience and knowledge to bear on the text in an effort to make meaning of it.And so it was for me with The Hotel New Hampshire As a side note, this is, of course, where the Common Core State Standards get reading completely wrong In the English standards slavish adherence to the four corners of the page and standards author David Coleman s desire that students not access their prior knowledge and history essentially asking students to come to the text as a blank slate, which precisely no one ever does the selfish aspect of reading is left entirely out of the equation By focusing completely on providing textual evidence for whatever superficial task the teacher has mandated, student choice is eliminated completely We re asking students to read in complete defiance of what we know about how people read, which means most of the reading tasks they re asked to complete in school are completely artificial, and with very little transfer to the way we read outside of school It s asinine Back to The Hotel New Hampshire, and from here on in I tread lightly.I enjoyed the book, but it s problematic for a lot of reasons, touching as it does on anti Semitism, adolescent sexuality, incest, prostitution, terrorism, and rape, all while somehow being laugh out loud funny It details the exploits of the Berry family mainly father Win and his children Frank, Franny, John who narrates the book , and Lily and the three hotels they own in New Hampshire, Vienna, and Maine over the course of twentyish years The last item in that lengthy list of the book s sensitive subjects hangs over everything after Franny is raped in high school by several boys, and it s tempting to read it as the catalyst for much of what develops later between her and John.The interesting thing and what prompted me to think carefully about the inherent selfishness of reading is how I homed in on Franny s rape as the book s defining event even though it isn t really about rape or misogyny or even, broadly, gender politics It s certainly part of the book s tapestry, but if I said this was a book about rape, I d be lying.And yet.The treatment of women in our culture has been on my mind lately due to the recent video of the woman being sexually harassed on the streets of New York and the misogynist cowards behind Gamergate and the threats levied against critic Anita Sarkeesian and the necessity of YesAllWomen It s the Hobby Lobby decision and the GOP s rejection of equal pay for women and even yesterday s exceedingly lame conference focusing on men s issues on the campus where I teach If the autumn of 2014 taught us anything, it s that men, as the saying goes, are pigs.So I was already sensitive to this subject, and I felt anything but optimistic about the direction in which I saw Irving heading It seems spectacularly foolhardy to think a man has anything worth saying about rape, but to make it one of the key events of a novel had all the makings of a Hindenburg style disaster Because of the way I was already attuned to the issue, I was perhaps prepared to trace its development than any of the other problems Irving presents us with.There s one big reason why I think Irving s handling of this most sensitive issue ultimately works it s nuanced That seems counterintuitive when dealing with an issue like rape, so I should probably clarify that it s the aftermath of the rape that s nuanced The crime itself is never seen as anything other than the brutal act it is, but Irving s characters resist convenient responses Franny, as the victim, somehow manages to be the strongest character in the book she refuses to see herself as a victim, claiming that while, yes, she was physically assaulted, the rapists never touched her emotionally, never got to, as she puts it, the me in me while continuing to write letters to one of her assailants for years after the attack because she was in love with him at the time.In Vienna, the family meets Susie, a fellow rape survivor who also dresses as a bear, which is too convoluted a backstory to discuss here , who says that Franny s response is ridiculous According to Susie, Franny s blithe refusal to see herself as a victim indicates a refusal to deal with the crime itself, and by not attacking her assailants at the time, she sacrificed her own integrity The problem with this view, John the narrator realizes, is the fact that it reflects Susie s own refusal to acknowledge that everyone is different, everyone processes trauma differently, and that by demanding Franny handle her rape in the same way Susie dealt with hers, she s robbing Franny of her individual authenticity Even before she started talking to Franny, I could see how desperately important this woman s private unhappiness was to her, and how in her mind the only credible reaction to the event of rape was hers That someone else might have responded differently to a similar abuse only meant to her that the abuse couldn t possibly have been the same People are like that, Iowa Bob would have said They need to make their own worst experiences universal It gives them a kind of support And who can blame them It is just infuriating to argue with someone like that because of an experience that has denied them their humanity, they go around denying another kind of humanity in others, which is the truth of human variety it stands alongside our sameness And this seems to me to be what the book is all about simultaneously glorying in human difference while also realizing the problems it causes Is that the definitive answer of what Irving is going for with The Hotel New Hampshire Probably not There are, as I said earlier, many other issues at play in the book, and that s without mentioning how the book examines the idea of family what it is, how it starts, what holds it all together, how it handles loss, and so on There are many angles from which a reader can make sense of The Hotel New Hampshire, but I, rightly or wrongly, made sense of it through the lens of Irving s sensitive handling of the aftermath of rape And that s because I, recently dismayed at the preponderance of misogyny in our culture, selfishly and in defiance of the Common Core took ownership of my own reading.The Hotel New Hampshire is so rich that it invites these kind of readings, and to reduce it, as I sort of have, to a book only about rape, is to do it a disservice The strongest thing working in its favor is that I could read it multiple times and see an entirely different story each time.More reviews at goldstarforrobotboy.net


  9. says:

    Awesome book I had never read Irving before, and I have no idea why not He s like that Deli that you always drive by but never go into, then one day decide what the hell and it turns out to have the best pastrami sandwich you ve ever had in your life Anyway, the story revolves around an unusual family growing up and learning about sex, sports, love, death, failure, success, etc etc It s quirky and funny and strange Irving has a knack for finding little bits of truth in truly bizarre situations.Oh, and the main love story is between a brother and sister, soyeah.My only complaint is that the ending is a little too neat, everything fits together a little too well The rest of the book is messy and bursting at the seams, so it doesn t quite fit Other than that though, 4 stars.


  10. says:

    Irving is a great storyteller and novelist with characters that come to life in being all but flawless and also by taking views and actions that are unexpected, very much like in life He also has a few strange interests, such as bears, wrestling and much and a few of them are in evidence in this one as well Hampshire is good, but not one of his best, mostly due to it being quite the bumpy ride, parts are amazing and some parts are easily missed I would start with another one of his.