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Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel by John…

Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2010)

by John Irving

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1,9841083,402 (3.77)113
Title:Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel
Authors:John Irving
Info:Ballantine Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 592 pages

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Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving (2009)

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English (91)  German (6)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
A good story hijacked by an editorial. ( )
  lanewillson | Jun 21, 2014 |
If you've ever thought about writing a book, John Irving gives some insights into his writing process in this book. I enjoy John Irving's bizarre take on life, and this book did not disappoint. ( )
  vdunn | Apr 30, 2014 |
My only problem with John Irving novels is that nothing will ever be as good as A Prayer for Owen Meany. This was good. The characters were developed deeply and thoroughly, but the end left something to be desired. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
This was not the fast paced adventure/suspense novel that I was expecting. ( )
  Kraga | Mar 17, 2014 |
Okay... I gave this three stars, not because in is an average book. but because it is a very bad book wrapped in a very good book (or perhaps the other way around.)

I love John Irving, even the lesser works, so I expect things to be self-referntial and even self-indulgent. Actually if I were to read a John Irving book without bears, adolescents having sex with older women, abortions, wrestling, and East Coast boarding schools I expect I would be very disappointed. But this book is so clunky. Irving tries to do way too much. He brings in too many characters, too many themes, and writes characters he doesn't know. (Ketchum, wow, what an ass -- an illiterate logger who quotes Kafka. Ugh!). Then there are the cutsie writerisms. When Daniel is at his peak in his writing he is always called "The Writer Danny Angel." Every time. When Danny isn't productive he is just "Daniel." Ketchum is generally identified as "The Log Driver", or the "Former Log Driver," Dominic (or Tony) is "Cookie." I get that he is defining a man by what he does rather than by his name, but give it a freaking rest! The women are all ciphers, Rosie, Carmela, Six-Pack Pam are no more than catalysts. This is even more true of the women here than those in other Irving books, and that is a pretty high (or low) standard. Also there are the inconsistencies. Long passages on how Dominic and Ketchum get to a point where they no longer miss Rosie are inconsistent with Ketchum's ongoing desire to cut off his hand (which has a lot to do with Rosie). The healing power of children theme is incosistent with the rejection of a plan to have further children when healing is needed most. The blue Mustang and Lady Sky bits of magical realism are flat-out idiotic and poorly integrated. The core story though is good, and the characters of Dominic and Danny are good ones. And I like the Father-Son aspect a great deal. This could have been so good. As Ketchum would say (and does say over and over and over again), "piles of moose-shit Danny!" ( )
  Narshkite | Mar 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
The coy hints of connections between the author and the narrator have been forced onto a plot that can’t accommodate them, and the fact that Danny is a famous novelist too often seems a mere contrivance, giving Irving a convenient opportunity to include rambling background information and to air his own ideas about writing. In his bid to make something “serious,” Irving has risked distracting readers from what otherwise could be a moving, cohesive story.
I thought I was heading for another “The Cider House Rules,” my personal favorite of his novels. But the full reading experience ended up being more like “A Widow for One Year,” where one outstanding section has to carry the weight of the whole book. And at 554 pages, that’s a lot to carry.
Irving playfully invents a story that’s as much about the pleasures of reading one of his novels as it is anything else, until it poignantly turns into a paean for a dying art and a plea for the idea of the story. This could all seem self-indulgent. Instead, it’s Irving’s best since the ’80s.
Irving's story is engrossing, and he gives us a satisfying assortment of fully realized characters: Carl, a cruel, ignorant police officer; Ketchum, a hard-drinking, violent logger who devotes himself to protecting the cook and his son and whose favorite exclamation is “Constipated Christ!”; Six-Pack Pam, whose name pretty much says it all; and Lady Sky, the aforementioned parachutist, who becomes the love of the cook's son's life.
Mr. Irving uses coincidences, cliffhanger chapter endings and other 19th-century novelistic devices to hook the reader, while at the same time orchestrating them to underscore the improbable, random nature of real life. Some of his inventions — like a murderous blue car that appears to have zeroed in on Danny’s son — are ludicrous at first glance, but the reader gradually comes to understand that they are writerly metaphors for the precarious nature of life in “a world of accidents.”

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Irvingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kristiansen, HalvorTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"I had a job in the great north woods/ Working as a cook for a spell/ But I never did like it all that much/ And one day the ax just fell" -Bob Dylan, "Tangled Up in Blue
"For Everett-my pioneer, my hero"
First words
"The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long."
Constipated Christ!
Don't get your balls crossed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Une mustang bleue fantôme bleue , un chien héroïque , une ange atterrie dans la fange : le chef Irving nous réserve toutes les surprises de son art consommés dans un roman qui se dévore et se déguste jusqu'à la dernière page . Bombe glacée pour tout le monde au dessert .

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear.  Both the boy and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County--to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto--while pursued by the implacable constable.  Their lone protector is a fiercly libertarian logger who befriends them.

In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River depicts the recent half-century in the United States as "a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course."
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In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County-to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto-pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. A tale that spans five decades.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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