Cover image for The world according to Garp
Title:
The world according to Garp
Author:
Irving, John, 1942-
Personal Author:
Edition:
Modern Library edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Modern Library, 1998.
Physical Description:
xvi, 688 pages ; 20 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.7 33.0 121263.
ISBN:
9780679603061
Format :
Book

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Orchard Park Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

The World According to Garp is a comic and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers of his generation. A worldwide bestseller since its publication in 1978, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, novelist and bastard son of Jenny Fields--a feminist leader ahead of her time. Beyond that, The World According to Garp virtually defies synopsis.

----"Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it," said critic Terrence Des Pres. "Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous. . . . Friendship, marriage and family are his primary themes, but at that blundering level of life where mishap and folly--something close to joyful malice--perpetually intrude and disrupt, often fatally. Life, in Irving's fiction, is always under siege." Time magazine commented: "Irving's popularity is not hard to understand. His world is really the world according to nearly everyone."

----This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by the author.

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editons of impor-tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoringas its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.


Author Notes

John Irving published his first novel at the age of twenty-six. He has received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation; he has won an O. Henry Award, a National Book Award, and an Academy Award.

(Publisher Provided) John Irving was born John Wallace Blunt, Jr. on March 2, 1942 in Exeter, New Hampshire. His named was changed to John Winslow Irving when his stepfather adopted him at the age of six. He was a dyslexic child and it took him five years to get through Exeter Academy, which is where his adoptive father taught Russian history. He received a B.A. (cum laude) from the University of New Hampshire in 1965 and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, in 1967, where he studied with Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

His first novel was Setting Free the Bears (1969) but it wasn't until The World According to Garp was published in 1978, that he became a literary star. The novel spent six months on the bestseller list and won the American Book Award in 1980. It was also made into a movie in 1982 starring Robin Williams and costarring Glenn Close and John Lithgow. In 1981, he received an O. Henry Award for the short story Interior Space. Some of his other novels were also made into movies including The Hotel New Hampshire starring Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe; A Prayer for Owen Meany, which was titled Simon Birch starring Jim Carrey; and The Cider House Rules starring Michael Caine. He won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules in 2000.

Irving also wrote two memoirs; one detailing his wrestling adventures entitled The Imaginary Girlfriend, and another concerning his novels made into Hollywood films entitled My Movie Business: A Memoir.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Satire black, bawdy, and rib-tickling surges through Irving's novel about Garp's progression from son to husband to father and writer. (Je 1 78 Adult)


Library Journal Review

"In the world according to Garp, we're all terminal cases." This sentence ends both Irving's comic and tragic novel and its wonderful audio adaptation, read disarmingly by Michael Prichard. We hear the familiar story of T.S. Garp; his mother, Jenny Fields; and Garp's wife, family, friends, and lovers. We also see Garp's efforts to establish himself as a serious author and his involvement in sexual politics. In contrast, Jenny's memoirs establish her as a feminist leader. This work is funny, sexual, serious, and sad. Prichard's narration adds a wonderful dimension to the story. Plus, Irving opens with a terrific introduction to mark the novel's 20th anniversary. This wise and unique tale is as fresh today as it was when first published in 1978. Obviously, a required purchase for all audio collections and required listening for all Irving fans. Irving's (A Son of the Circus, Audio Reviews, LJ 12/94) new novel echoes Garp through tracing the complicated life of novelist Ruth Cole. Divided into three parts, the book views Ruth's life and relationships at age four in 1958, age 36 in 1990, and age 41 in 1995. In the first part, Ruth's mother, devastated by the loss of two sons, leaves her daughter and womanizing husband after a brief love affair with a teenage boy. Part 2 focuses on Ruth's book tour in Europe while coming to grips with a poor love life and considering marriage to an older man. Part 3 traces Ruth's short widowhood and her marriage to the Dutch policeman who solves the murder to which she was a witness. Like Garp, this is a complex, sad, and quite compelling tale. Narrator George Guidall's reading adds to the texture of the story. And like the audio adaptation of Garp, this wonderful novel is a required purchase for all audio collections.¬ĎStephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

BOSTON MERCY Garp's mother Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater. This was shortly after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and people were being tolerant of soldiers, because suddenly everyone was a soldier, but jenny Fields was quite firm in her intolerance of the behavior of men in general and soldiers in particular. In the movie theater she had to move three times, but each time the soldier moved closer to her until she was sitting against the musty wall, her view of the newsreel almost blocked by some silly colonnade, and she resolved she would not get up and move again. The soldier moved once more and sat beside her. jenny was twenty-two. She had dropped out of college almost as soon as she'd begun, but she had finished her nursing-school program at the head of her class and she enjoyed being a nurse. She was an athletic-looking young woman who always had high color in her cheeks; she had dark, glossy hair and what her mother called a mannish way of walking (she swung her arms), and her rump and hips were so slender and hard that, from behind, she resembled a young boy. In jenny's opinion, her breasts were too large; she thought the ostentation of her bust made her look "cheap and easy." She was nothing of the kind. In fact, she had dropped out of college when she suspected that the chief purpose of her parents' sending her to Wellesley had been to have her dated by and eventually mated to some well-bred man. The recommendation of Wellesley had come from her older brothers, who had assured her parents that Wellesley women were not thought of loosely and were considered high in marriage potential. jenny felt that her education was merely a polite way to bide time, as if she were really a cow, being prepared only for the insertion of the device for artificial insemination. Her declared major had been English literature, but when it seemed to her that her classmates were chiefly concerned with acquiring the sophistication and the poise to deal with men, she had no trouble leaving literature for nursing. She saw nursing as something that could be put into immediate practice, and its study had no ulterior motive that jenny could see (later she wrote, in her famous autobiography, that too many nurses put themselves on display for too many doctors; but then her nursing days were over). She liked the simple, no-nonsense uniform; the blouse of the dress made less of her breasts; the shoes were comfortable, and suited to her fast pace of walking. When she was at the night desk, she could still read. She did not miss the young college men, who were sulky and disappointed if you wouldn't compromise yourself, and superior and aloof if you would. At the hospital she saw more soldiers and working boys than college men, and they were franker and less pretentious in their expectations; if you compromised yourself a little, they seemed at least grateful to see you again. Then, suddenly, everyone was a soldier-and full of the self-importance of college boys-and jenny Fields stopped having anything to do with men. "My mother," Garp wrote, "was a lone wolf." Excerpted from The World According to Garp by John Irving All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1. Boston Mercyp. 1
2. Blood and Bluep. 33
3. What He Wanted to Be When He Grew Upp. 69
4. Graduationp. 91
5. In the City Where Marcus Aurelius Diedp. 117
6. The Pension Grillparzerp. 157
7. More Lustp. 181
8. Second Children, Second Novels, Second Lovep. 213
9. The Eternal Husbandp. 239
10. The Dog in the Alley, the Child in the Skyp. 261
11. Mrs. Ralphp. 279
12. It Happens to Helenp. 303
13. Walt Catches Coldp. 337
14. The World According to Marcus Aureliusp. 375
15. The World According to Bensenhaverp. 401
16. The First Assassinp. 441
17. The First Feminist Funeral, and Other Funeralsp. 487
18. Habits of the Under Toadp. 521
19. Life After Garpp. 567
Afterword--Twenty Years Agop. 610

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