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Everyone has their own particular favourite Irving novel, but this for me has to be his finest hour. Epic in scale, spanning three generations, this has to be the most emotionally engaging and moving book I've ever read. Drawing heavily from (and unlike most authors acknowledging the fact) classic Victorian fiction (in particular David Copperfield and Jane Eyre), CHR is a monumental journey through the life of an orphaned boy,seemingly chosen at random for minor acts of greatness. Irving's greatest skill is in the fleshing out of his character's; the wise Dr.Larch, the wonderful Homer, the fantastically bad-but-we-all-know-why Melony. As ever with Irving, it's not the major deeds that define his characters but the in-jokes, the personal legends and mythology of close knit groups that make his characters breathe from the Larches goodnight catchphrase to the iconography of an obscene postcard that haunts Homer's sexuality. It's long but not a word is wasted - I won't dwell on the plot because it's beautifully labyrinthine, but can only recommend that everyone read this fantastic and beuatiful journey.
Good opinion. I haven't read any Irving since I read the World according to Garp many years ago, I wasn't that impressed then but I may guve this book a go. Thanks for the review.
PJE_ 28.02.2001 16:29
John Irving is a fantastic writer (my favourite too) but I wouldn't recommend people start with this one because the details of abortion procedure might be a bit too much for many people. I always recommend "The World According To Garp" and "A Prayer For Owen Meany". Welcome to Ciao BTW!