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De wereld volgens Garp by John Irving
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De wereld volgens Garp (original 1978; edition 1979)

by John Irving

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11,977145216 (4.09)294
Member:wimtimperman
Title:De wereld volgens Garp
Authors:John Irving
Info:Weesp Agathon 1979
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

The World According to Garp by John Irving (1978)

Recently added byprivate library, arena35, DL_Orton, edparks, hearjohn88, Magne, potvin, Brogars
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» See also 294 mentions

English (130)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Tagalog (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (145)
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“[S]o here it is: an epilogue ‘warning us about the future,’ as T. S. Garp might have imagined it.”

Halfway through John Irving’s [The World According to Garp] it becomes terribly difficult not to wonder how similar Garp’s world is to Irving’s. But Garp himself ridicules any autobiographical instinct in novelists, claiming that such fiction writing is the hallmark of a weak imagination. Of course, part of Garp’s story is his own writing, of which the final installment is a novel titled The World According to Bensenhaver – giving a tongue firmly in the cheek feeling to Garp’s ridicule. There is a sense that Irving is reflecting himself through multiple mirrors, his image refracted smaller and smaller through a funhouse hallway, as he tells Garp’s story.

And Garp’s story is a doozy – conceived by a nurse who hates sex so much but wants a child so badly that she rapes a brain damaged soldier with a constant reflexive erection; befriended by former pro football linebacker post-operative transsexual; married to a devoted philanderer; father to a one-armed, one-eyed son who paints (and the story of how the boy’s eye is lost is the kind of fiction that argues against Twain’s proclamation that truth is stranger than fiction); and adoptive father of a daughter with no tongue. With his own writing career budding, Garp’s mother writes an autobiography that seeds a feminist movement, forever casting Garp as an interloper. No matter how he tries he can never emerge from his mother’s shadow, seemingly cast in the whites of her nurse’s uniform rather than grays. And no matter how much he runs or writes or worries, life’s violent waves always carry him out into the tide.

Violence and death’s looming presence permeate Garp’s story, just as they do his writing. In describing Gapr’s first story, Irving says of it, “the history of a city was like the history of a family – there is closeness, and even affection, but death eventually separates everyone from each other.” The only thing that remains is memory, which is how Garp views his own writing. For Garp, and you suspect Irving as he is reflected through the funhouse surfaces, sex is just another chaotic tool that violence and death carry in their repertoire. So much of the Greek-like tragedy that befalls Garp starts or ends with sex, as if there is no more destructive force in the word – a perspective largely in line with his mother’s views. Garp’s story is Greek, a comedy in trees but a tragedy when viewing the forest.

As dark and distasteful as some of the events can be, [The World According to Garp] is a world that demands attention. The character’s eccentricity and depth compels the reader along, even if it’s because you can’t turn away, because you have to look. That depth is Irving’s saving grace, and the book’s.

Bottom Line: An eccentrically populated book; even if a little too morose and over-sexed, the characters’ uniqueness is compelling.

4 bones!!!!! ( )
2 vote blackdogbooks | Jun 13, 2015 |
This is the story of T.S. Garp, named after his biological father Technical Sergeant Garp. His mother, Jenny Fields was a determined nurse who wanted a child but not a husband. She eventually becomes a feminist icon before being killed by a crazed man for what she said in her autobiography A Sexual Suspect. Garp went on to become a writer as well and The World According to Garp tells the story of his life.

This is my first attempt into the writing of John Irving’s writing and I was impressed with what I read. Many people recommend starting with some of his other books (A Prayer for Owen Meaning or The Cider House Rules) but I think I made the right choice with The World According to Garp. What stood out to me within the book was the constant struggle that T.S. Garp experienced his entire life. Even his decision to become a writer was made in the effort to get a girl. This was a struggle with lust and the way it took over his whole life. It was like he had no control over his own sexual desire but then again he never really tried. Lust took over everything within Garp’s life but other characters also struggled as well. I really enjoyed the way that Irving explores the beauty and destructiveness of sex and desire.

This is not just a novel the focuses on lust, this is also a book that explores life and death. It is fair to say that T.S. Garp had a fascination with death, especially when his book The Pension Grillparzer saw seven of the nine main characters die. Even his third novel The World According to Bensenhaver featured many death scenes. There are so many more scenes about death, you can look at the death of Garp and his mother and see the similarities and symbolism.

There were moments where I was worried that this book would turn transphobic but the way John Irving treated the character Roberta was done really well. Gender roles play a big part in this book, starting from Garp’s mother rejecting a man and deciding to raise her child alone. The novel also explores feminism, the women’s rights movement and misogyny. What I loved about this book is that there are so many issues tacked within the pages, when I thought I understood the major theme it offers something different.

I like how The World According to Garp explored the whole life of Garp from birth to death. Written like Garp was telling the story, it still covers parts of his life that he could not possibly know, including his birth and his death. I was really impressed with John Irving’s style of writing that I plan to read so many more of his books. I hear A Prayer for Owen Meaning is the next book I should tackle but I would love other suggestions too.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/04/14/the-world-according-to-garp-by-john-i... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Apr 14, 2015 |
After I saw the movie I had to read this. Impressive. A bit high on the yuck factor, a bit too much whining and neuroticism from some characters, and some stuff I didn't really understand, but I liked this well enough to keep going with Irving for a little while.

(I liked/understood A Prayer for Owen Meany almost as much, was frustrated by Hotel New Hampshire, and gave up on Cider House Rules.) ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
the movie changed my world. i was a teenager when it came out and it blew my mind. i’d never experienced a story like that, frank yet humorous and also gut-wrenchingly sad. all the quirky characters to whom unusual and intense things happen. for me, John Lithgow has always been defined by Roberta.

anyway, the book.

Irving’s prose was solid but didn’t quite mimic the richness of the screen version for me. nonetheless, the book was epic in scope and satisfying. i loved being able to see more into the lives of the people in Garp’s life, especially his mother. it felt like a life, a whole life, when i finished the book. like i had witnessed something special and real and meaningful even if it wasn’t profound.

twists and turns throughout the novel gave it an interesting flavor that also served to keep it on the verge of tongue-in-cheek to the end. ironies and metaphors abound that reach out into greater philosophies but they only ask questions or make gentle assumptions. i’m not sure if Irving put a lot his own life into this (i’m fairly certain he did) but it seemed like he might have been writing a whimsical bit of fiction in which he could explore some of his own aspirations and write out or publish some of his own “lesser” works like the excerpts and short stories written by Garp.

if Irving had scratched the surface a little deeper, i think something truly great and timeless would have emerged. the meandering story felt out-of-focus fuzzy or tilt-shifted where only foreground objects were sharp and the host context was an impressionist’s painting. still, this story will stay with me in ways that other, “deeper,” novels will not. ( )
1 vote keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
One of my favorite books by my favorite author. John Irving is a wonderful storyteller. ( )
  MiriamMartin | Dec 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (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 (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Irvingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paolini, Pier FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Colin and Brendan
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Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater.
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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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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.

(summary from another edition)

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