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In One Person
Cover of In One Person
In One Person
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With such acclaimed works as The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer for Owen Meany to his credit, National Book Award winner John Irving stands as one of America's most gifted contemporary novelists. Irving's eagerly anticipated 13th novel, In One Person, explores such themes as love, loss, and identity through the eyes of a bisexual man. "John Irving ... is an abundantly and even joyfully talented storyteller."—New York Times

With such acclaimed works as The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Prayer for Owen Meany to his credit, National Book Award winner John Irving stands as one of America's most gifted contemporary novelists. Irving's eagerly anticipated 13th novel, In One Person, explores such themes as love, loss, and identity through the eyes of a bisexual man. "John Irving ... is an abundantly and even joyfully talented storyteller."—New York Times

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 30, 2012
    John Benjamin Hickey more than does justice to Irving’s simple but effective prose in this unusual coming-of-age novel that sensitively explores sexual identity and orientation. Hickey gets this audio edition off to a good start with his reading of passages in which bisexual protagonist Billy Dean admits to having trouble pronouncing certain words such as library and penis—which Dean can only vocalize as “penith”—a fact that genuinely causes him anguish, especially as puberty kicks in and he develops a crush on the librarian of his small Vermont town. Portraying an older character with a speech impediment looking back on his life could trip up many a talented narrator, but Hickey doesn’t miss a beat. One of the many high points is his depiction of Dean’s grandfather, a humorous female impersonator with an acid view of the town’s teenage acting talent in a local production of Ibsen. Irving fans will be delighted. A Simon & Schuster hardcover.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 20, 2012
    Prep school. Wrestling. Unconventional sexual practices. Viennese interlude. This bill of particulars could only fit one American author: John Irving. His 13th novel (after Last Night in Twisted River) tells the oftentimes outrageous story of bisexual novelist Billy Abbott, who comes of age in the uptight 1950s and explores his sexuality through two decadent decades into the plague-ridden 1980s and finally to a more positive present day. Sexual confusion sets in early for Billy, simultaneously attracted to both the local female librarian and golden boy wrestler Jacques Kittredge, who treats Billy with the same disdain he shows Billy’s best friend (and occasional lover) Elaine. Faced with an unsympathetic mother and an absent father who might have been gay, Billy travels to Europe, where he has affairs with a transgendered female and an older male poet, an early AIDS activist. Irving’s take on the AIDS epidemic in New York is not totally persuasive (not enough confusion, terror, or anger), and his fractured time and place doesn’t allow him to generate the melodramatic string of incidents that his novels are famous for. In the end, sexual secrets abound in this novel, which intermittently touches the heart as it fitfully illuminates the mutability of human desire. Agent: Dean Cooke, the Cooke Agency.

  • AudioFile Magazine Bestselling novelist John Irving posits that exploring the spectrum of human desire is one way of revealing the identity of his bisexual main character, Billy Dean. Narrator John Benjamin Hickey juggles numerous characters and plot twists as Billy, who becomes a novelist, deals with love affairs, the AIDS epidemic, and the search for his absent father. Billy experiences the sting of prejudice and societal rejection as he ages through the 1960s to 2010. Hickey weaves this funny and heartbreaking story at a calm and deliberate pace. While Billy's experiences are explicitly recounted, his many loves exemplify different chapters of America's perception of love and sex. While the journey is long, Irving and Hickey make the destination well worth the trip. R.O. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2012

    Irving's latest novel is not only politically and sexually charged, it offers much fodder for scholars exploring his common themes and motifs: wrestling, bear-like beings, outsiders, aspiring writers, and more. This coming-of-age tale unfurls through an older man's eyes as he reflects upon his tormented adolescent desires and the path they led him through in the age of AIDS, LGBT struggles, and his own realizations about sexuality and sexual identity. The "sexual suspect" concept Irving employed in The World According to Garp is embodied in the bisexual narrator, Billy, and explored in fuller, more graphic terms. The novel often moves slowly and with much repetition in a narrative web that captures other characters who challenge and forge the young man. VERDICT Irving's use of other writers--Shakespeare, James Baldwin, and Henrik Ibsen, among others--makes this a literary and theatrical journey as well. John Benjamin Hickey's reading is strong and assured. Recommended for adult and mature audiences. ["This wonderful blend of thought-provoking, well-constructed, and meaningful writing is what one has come to expect of Irving, and it also makes for an enjoyable page-turner," read the review of the S. & S. hc, LJ 3/15/12.--Ed.]--Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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