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A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving

If you care about something you have to protect it. If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.’ 

Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen doesn’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is both extraordinary and terrifying.

“I believe it to be a work of genius… because of its absolutely irrepressible flow of invention and suggestion, expressed in some of the most fascinating prose written in fiction today. Originality has distinguished all Mr Irving’s books, but in A Prayer For Owen Meany it achieves a new pitch and a new profundity” – Independent

“Marvellously funny… What better entertainment is there than a serious book which makes you laugh?” – Spectator

“So extraordinary, so original, and so enriching” – The Washington Post

“May justly join the classic American list” – Observer

“A heartbreaking masterpiece of a novel… tremendously ambitious and fiendishly clever” – Dominic Holland, Sunday Express

“Intelligent, exhilarating and darkly comic Dickensian in scope. Quite stunning” – Los Angeles Times

“So extraordinary, so original, and so enriching” – Stephen King, The Washington Post

#84 in ABC My Favourite Book 


About John Irving

In One Person is John Irving’s thirteenth novel.  His first novel, Setting Free The Bears, was published in 1968.  The World According to Garp, Irving’s fourth, won the National Book Award in 1980 and was his first international bestseller. In 2000, John Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules directed by  Lasse Hallström. Born John Wallace Blunt, Jr., in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942, his name was changed to John Winslow Irving in 1948, when his mother remarried Colin F.N. Irving, a teacher in the History Department at Phillips Exeter Academy.  Irving graduated from Exeter in 1961; he was captain of the Exeter wrestling team, and also wrestled at the University of Pittsburgh.  John Irving later attended the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria.  He has a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and a M.F.A. from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where his mentor was Kurt Vonnegut. In 1992, John Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  He was a competitive wrestler for twenty years and a wrestling coach until he was forty-seven. Before the success of The World According to Garp enabled John Irving to become a full-time writer, he had several college teaching positions—not only at his alma mater in Iowa City, where he taught for three years, but also at Mt. Holyoke College and Brandeis University. John Irving’s novels are now translated into thirty-five languages, and he has had ten international bestsellers.  

Other books by John Irving


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