Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Prayer for Owen Meany

A couple weeks ago, Antonia gave me a copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, on the highest possible recommendation. I just finished reading it tonight, and saying that it was truly incredible doesn't begin to capture the experience of this book. I was hooked right from the opening:
I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God....
How could I put down something like that?

The way the story unfolds is fascinating. At each point in the linear chronology of the story the main line was interwoven with scenes from points in the future and past and yet there were still such amazing things to discover all the way up to the end. It is so rich and detailed -- one of those books you can just live inside of as you read, and probably the most complete-feeling book I can think of. As Antonia put it, you could read this book once a month for the rest of your life and get something different out of it each time.

I wish I could give more specifics and fewer gushing generalities, but I do hate spoilers and there are way too many people I want to recommend this book to right now, so I'll keep quiet. Go read the book, though.


Brian said...

One of my favorite books of all time. Thank God that John Irving had enough sense to distance it from that horrible movie Hollywood tried to make from it, Simon Birch.

Joe said...

Amen! My wife and I have almost completely different taste in fiction, yet this is both of our favorite novel ever. Fortunately, I've managed to avoid any exposure whatsoever to Simon Birch.