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The World According to Garp by John Irving
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The World According to Garp (1978)

by John Irving

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,985171288 (4.09)370
  1. 151
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (dele2451)
    dele2451: Garp and Owen would make a great literary double feature. I wish I didn't have to wait so many years between reading both of these wonderful books.
  2. 60
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (alzo)
  3. 41
    White Teeth by Zadie Smith (sipthereader)
  4. 31
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (soffitta1)
    soffitta1: Both are left-field, with overlap in themes.
  5. 21
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Rynooo)
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» See also 370 mentions

English (153)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  Tagalog (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
This is the story of T.S. Garp (the T.S. don't stand for anything) who is a child born out of wedlock to a feminist named Jenny Fields. This is the story of Jenny before Garp came along, all the way through to Garp's death. Jenny was as asexual as Garp was sexual. Jenny was a nurse who became a famous writer, and Garp was a write that became almost famous. This book tells the story of these characters - and the characters they most interact with - whole lives.



I liked this book as much as I thought it was strange. It started out strong and I was really enjoying getting to know Jenny and her story and her little boy, Garp. Then around page 200 (in this 433 page book) it got a little strange, and stayed pretty strange for the next 100 pages. Garp has a lot of sexual encounters with many (many) women over his young years, and even after he gets married - he has several affairs. His wife is aware of them all, and they have a mutual affair at the same time, which just made me shake my head. I mean, why? He and his wife do stay together, have three children (one who dies at a very young age), and the affairs disappear from the story. For the last 100 pages of the book, the story picks up again, and renews my interest, and ends strong.



There is a lot of death in this book. There is a lot of sexual encounters. There is a transgender person - which I found very interesting because of the time period this book took place. Almost all of the characters in this book meet tragic ends to their lives. It kind of reminded me of the Kennedys.



I would suggest this book with the warning of the above paragraph. It will turn several people off. And truly - about 100 pages of this book are really strange. I don't get the point of the affairs except to maybe prove how sexual Garp is compared to his mother. Otherwise - it was pointless. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
The World According to Garp is an extremely well written book. I loved the movie and I thought it was time to check out the book. I have to say that there was a few times in the book that I wanted to skip ahead. It was mainly Garp’s books inside the book. I loved getting more details about some of the things that had happened in the movie that they really didn’t go into too much detail about. I wish the movie had done more with Ellen James then they did. I thought the book did an amazing job with her. I loved the ending where you find out what happened to everyone pretty much up until they died. All in all I think this was a great book that I would read again, just like I watch the movie again and again.

(I am glad that the version I read did not have this cover on it.) ( )
1 vote LVStrongPuff | Nov 29, 2018 |
Don't like how feminist is equated to man-hating in this book, but I guess it's "historical". Otherwise a good story :) ( )
  nheredia05 | Jun 12, 2018 |
Terrific flights of imagination ( )
  kate_author | Jun 2, 2018 |
Un libro incredibile, sempre in grado di sorprendere fino alla fine. Una riflessione sugli individui che spesso sconfina nel grottesco nonostante le vicende dai risvolti tragici e sconcertatamente coinvolgenti. Un'ottima traduzione, scorrevole e precisa. Da leggere e da rileggere probabilmente una seconda volta. ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
The World According to Garp was more than single, memorable moments. It was unforgettable as a whole for a simple reason - it was epic. It was what a Great American Novel needs to be: all of life between covers.
 
These things oughtn't to be funny. Still, the way that Mr. Irving writes about them, they are. They way he filters them through his hero's unique imagination, we not only laugh at the world according to Garp, but we also accept it and love it.
 

» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irving, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paolini, Pier FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Colin and Brendan
First words
Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater.
Quotations
people who have problems do not, as a rule, think their problems are "funny."
I have nothing but sympathy for how people behave--and nothing but laughter to console them with.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 034536676X, Mass Market Paperback)

"Garp was a natural storyteller," says the narrator of John Irving's incandescent novel, referring to the book's hero, the novelist Garp, who has much in common with Irving himself. "He could make things up one right after the other, and they seemed to fit."

Irving packs wild characters and weird events into his classic--officially recognized as such in a Modern Library edition with a new introduction by the author--while amazingly maintaining the rough feel of realism in every scene and the pulse of life in every heart. Many novelists of his time might have populated a novel with a novelist protagonist whose life and books comment on each other and the novel we're reading. Transsexual football players, ball turret gunners lobotomized in battle, multiple adultery, unicycling bears, mad feminists who amputate their tongues in sympathy with the celebrated victim of a horrifying rape--Irving made them all people. Even the bear is a fitting character.

In a crucial episode, Garp's wife's seduction of a young man coincidentally occurs at the moment when Garp is delighting their young sons with a reckless car trick (one of the few scenes beautifully, eerily, heartbreakingly captured in the film version as well). Many authors would have been content with the harsh comedy of the scene, but Irving respects its integrity, and he builds the rest of the book on the consequences of the event. How does he get away with his killer cocktail of slapstick and horror? Because it's simply what we all face daily, rearranged into soul-satisfying art. "Life is an X-rated soap opera," according to Garp, and who can contradict him?

Rereading Garp 20 years later, one is struck by how elegantly Irving structures his bizarre and complex story. Take the two most celebrated bits in the book, the Under Toad and Garp's story "The Pension Grillparzer," which shimmers like an exquisite Kafkaesque insect in the amber of the novel. When Garp warns his son about the "undertow" at the beach, the boy imagines a monster out of Beowulf who lurks beneath the waves to suck you under: the "Under Toad." It's funny at first, but we soon find that the Under Toad is a metaphor with teeth--he connects with a prophetic dream of death in "The Pension Grillparzer," set in Vienna. Garp's son's last words are, "It's like a dream!" And as Irving--who studied at the University of Vienna--can certainly tell you, the German word for "death" sounds precisely like the English word "toad."

All that death, and yet Garp is mainly exuberant. This story is, as Garp's stuttering writing teacher puts it, "rich with lu-lu-lunacy and sorrow." It enriches literature, and our lives. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The story of T.S. Garp, the bastard son of a feminist leader who is ahead of her time. A comic and compassionate coming-of-age story.

» see all 9 descriptions

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