Feature

Novel of the week: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

The &ldquo;essential power&rdquo; of <em>Last Night in Twisted River</em> proves strong enough that Irving&rsquo;s excesses &ldquo;do not overwhelm it,&rdquo; said Floyd Skloot in<em> The Boston Globe.&l

(Random House, $28)

The final 450 pages of John Irving’s new novel may represent “the most disappointing wipeout of his career,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. A “superb story” comes first: In a 1950s logging town, a 12-year-old boy is being raised by his widowed father and his father’s foulmouthed best friend. But after a fatal accident, “as funny as it is tragic,” abruptly sends father and son on the run, we spend the next 50 years tracking the boy’s development into a John Irving–like novelist. The author of The World According to Garp shamelessly “loots his own canon” for eccentric touches, said Daniel Mallory in the Los Angeles Times. There’s a character missing a hand and even bear attacks. But Irving’s recycling act produces “a tale as introspective as it is retrospective.” His subject is how writers use art to tame life’s randomness, said Floyd Skloot in The Boston Globe. The “essential power” of this story proves strong enough that Irving’s excesses “do not overwhelm it.”

Recommended

France recalls ambassador to the U.S. 'for the first time ever'
Emmanuel Macron.
heating up

France recalls ambassador to the U.S. 'for the first time ever'

The tragedy of drone strikes
Drone strike.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

The tragedy of drone strikes

Pentagon admits August drone strike killed 10 Afghans: 'A tragic mistake'
Gen. McKenzie.
after afghanistan

Pentagon admits August drone strike killed 10 Afghans: 'A tragic mistake'

Navalny allies: Apple and Google 'bent to the Kremlin's blackmail'
Smart Voting app
'shameful day'

Navalny allies: Apple and Google 'bent to the Kremlin's blackmail'

Most Popular

Emmys host Cedric the Entertainer hoping 'not to get canceled'
Leon Bennett/Getty Images
'what have I done in the last three months'

Emmys host Cedric the Entertainer hoping 'not to get canceled'

How Newsom ran away with the recall
Gavin Newsom.
Picture of David FarisDavid Faris

How Newsom ran away with the recall

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?
Elizabeth Holmes and James Mattis.
Samuel Goldman

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?