Last Night in Twisted River

John Irving, Author . Random $28 (576p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6384-0

Irving (The World According to Garp ) returns with a scattershot novel, the overriding themes, locations and sensibilities of which will probably neither surprise longtime fans nor win over the uninitiated. Dominic “Cookie” Baciagalupo and his son, Danny, work the kitchen of a New Hampshire logging camp overlooking the Twisted River, whose currents claimed both Danny's mother and, as the novel opens, mysterious newcomer Angel Pope. Following an Irvingesque appearance of bears, Cookie and Danny's “world of accidents” expands, precipitating a series of adventures both literary and culinary. The ensuing 50-year slog follows the Baciagalupos from a Boston Italian restaurant to an Iowa City Chinese joint and finally a Toronto French cafe, while dovetailing clumsily with Danny's career as the distinctly Irving-like writer Danny Angel. The story's vicariousness is exacerbated by frequent changes of scene, self-conscious injections of how writers must “detach themselves” and a cast of invariably flat characters. With conflict this meandering and characters this limp, reflexive gestures come off like nostalgia and are bound to leave readers wishing Irving had detached himself even more. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/24/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 657 pages - 978-84-8383-238-7
Open Ebook - 420 pages - 978-1-58836-900-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2032-7
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-307-39837-6
Paperback - 860 pages - 978-0-375-43528-7
Paperback - 565 pages - 978-0-345-47973-0
Hardcover - 554 pages - 978-0-307-39836-9
Ebook - 978-0-307-37303-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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