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Publisher's Summary

A special 40th anniversary edition of the bestselling coming-of-age classic novel by John Irving, with a new introduction by the author.

"He is more than popular. He is a Populist, determined to keep alive the Dickensian tradition that revels in colorful set pieces...and teaches moral lessons." (The New York Times)

The opening sentence of John Irving's breakout novel, The World According to Garp, signals the start of sexual violence, which becomes increasingly political. "Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater." Jenny is an unmarried nurse; she becomes a single mom and a feminist leader, beloved but polarizing. Her son, Garp, is less beloved, but no less polarizing.

From the tragicomic tone of its first sentence to its mordantly funny last line -- "we are all terminal cases" -- The World According to Garp maintains a breakneck pace. The subject of sexual hatred--of intolerance of sexual minorities and differences--runs the gamut of "lunacy and sorrow."

Winner of the National Book Award, Garp is a comedy with forebodings of doom. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries--with more than ten million copies in print--Garp is the precursor of John Irving's later protest novels.

©1976, 1977, 1978 John Irving (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“The most powerful and profound novel about women written by a man in our generation.... Like all extraordinary books, Garp defies synopsis.... A marvelous, important, permanent novel by a serious artist of remarkable powers.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it.... Irving’s blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous.... Brilliant, funny, and consistently wise; a work of vast talent.” (The New Republic)

"A large talent announces itself on practically every page." (The Book-of-the-Month Club News

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What listeners say about The World According to Garp

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My 2nd favorite Irving novel so far

Irving has such a gift for capturing the irreverent, awkward, and eccentric in every day moments through characters not afraid to ask lifes tough questions. Humor and tragedy side by side as in life. The novel first published in the 1970s was very apt for the times. It remains so in 2019. Jennys beginning was from old family money and puritanical parents. To their horror she became a nurse rather than marrying. During WW II Jenny Fields consciously decides to impregnate herself via circumstances which are bizarre to say the least. Irving an important American talent and I look forward to his gems haven’t read yet. This title and The Cider House Rules created literary characters for the times The 40th anniversary Audible edition features John Irving reading a forward. He had thought of Garp as a period piece and expressed disgust that sexually based hatred and its crimes are still so prevalent. I discover more with each reread.
Favorite Quote
All men are liars, said Roberta Muldoon, who knew this was true because she had once been a man

11 people found this helpful

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Authentic and relevant complexity

In The World According to Garp, you will encounter complex and authentic representations of having, raising, and losing children, building, destroying, and rebuilding romantic relationships, sexuality, gender, and fanaticism. Of the many aspects of this novel that I will carry with me, perhaps the strongest is that no matter how hard you try, you are likely to be misunderstood, especially if you grow.

7 people found this helpful

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A Very Well Read Audiobook - An Very Different Story

First as an audiobook, this is a very professional product. The narration is excellent. The audiobook starts with a forward by the author. I have a hard copy that has the same as an afterword. I preferred this the way it appears in my hard copy; reading it afterward.

As for the story itself, the writing is often brilliant. It is not "light" reading. It is more of a thoughtful work. There were times the story moved slowly and I had to preserve. There is, at times, very dark violence that one may find distasteful. As a former police detective I was often repulsed by the episodic violence.

On the other hand much of this book is really well constructed. The author made me care about characters. This made the end of the story as well as the epilogue particularly poignant.

"Garp" the character is a writer who seems to have disdain for reviews. Perhaps I should take the hint and stop here. Thank You...

6 people found this helpful

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STILL great.

I've read this book 3 times, and listened to it once. John Irving is the only author I RE-read. Now I have a new narrator to seek out. MacLeod Andrews reads one of my favorite Irvings exactly as it should be read.

6 people found this helpful

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Part of my life

I saw the movie as a boy and read the book as a man. It’s been an important story to me most of my life. I believe it’s the greatest fiction I will ever experience.

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A review Garp would hopefully enjoy

Some background - This book was first suggested to me by my parents. They both claimed it was one of their all-time favorites and that they had read it many years ago. This was somewhat surprising because they each have very different taste in what they enjoy to read. I ordered the book off Amazon, not giving it much attention. When my copy arrived, it had a toad on the front and it made no sense to me then. I’m not sure what finally made me pick it up but I’m glad I did, when I did.

My review - John Irving is a fantastic writer and not too clever for his own good. I loved the layers of writers and writing, and how seamlessly Irving navigates between each tense, perspective, and new narrative. I loved the call backs and references he made for readers who paid attention. Irving’s use of language brought me into this world and I loved it. I believe Irving’s foreword is an important addition to the novel as well. It helped me understand this wasn’t a book about Garp. Letting go of that expectation allowed me to enjoy and focus on all of these rich characters and how they grow. On the note of characters - I hated Jozy Slopper’s dialogue and it felt like it was disrespectful and insensitive. Otherwise, I was happy with everyone else, flaws and all. This book will stay with me for a long time and I’m grateful to Irving for the lessons ingrained.

5 people found this helpful

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A roller coaster of emotion

This book was an amazingly colorful story with fascinating characters with lots of depth. Truly worth reading again

3 people found this helpful

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Returned

Its ok you have strong political views. I won't be paying to hear them. Why add that intro? I don't care if you hate Trump or that YOU feel he is solely responsible for our divided country (try the media). I know you lean left but don't pontificate when selling entertainment to the general public. We are a two party country. it's what makes America great. I'm so sad I can't enjoy your books anymore. Wrong platform.

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perfect

story was amazing, Irving is the most skilled writer I have ever read. the book feels like it could have been written today. its so far the best Irving book I have read, I plan on reading all his books. the narrator was amazing. if Irving edited it for a stage performance it could be even better.

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Sigh...💯

My first Irving novel that I actually finished. I couldn’t get through Owen Meany, Owen Meany’s narrated voice gave me a headache. This novel was so entertaining! I really like Irving’s satire and crudeness, I giggled quite a bit throughout. Although some heartbreaking events and my disagreement with the politics, Irving has a beautiful way of writing. Roberta/Robert was by favorite character!

2 people found this helpful