Spanning fifty years, In One Person is an breathtaking examination of sexual identity
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, which won the National Book Award in 1980, was John Irving's fourth novel and his first international bestseller; it also became a George Roy Hill film.Tony Richardson wrote and directed the adaptation for the screen of The Hotel New Hampshire (1984).Irving's novels are now translated into thirty-five foreign languages, and he has had nine international bestsellers.Worldwide, the Irving novel most often called "an American classic" is A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989)-the portrayal of an enduring friendship at that time when the Vietnam War had its most divisive effect on the United States. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.(He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, until he was thirty-four, and coached the sport until he was forty-seven.)In 2000, Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules-a Lasse Hallstrom film with seven Academy Award nominations.Tod Williams wrote and directed The Door in the Floor-the 2004 film adapted from Mr. Irving's ninth novel, A Widow for One Year. In One Person is John Irving's thirteenth novel.
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. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.