Last Night in Twisted River: Book summary and reviews of Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

Last Night in Twisted River

A Novel

By John Irving

Last Night in Twisted River
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2009,
    576 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River – John Irving's twelfth novel–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." From the novel's taut opening sentence – "The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long" – to its elegiac final chapter, Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical authenticity and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is also as violent and disturbing a story as John Irving's breakthrough bestseller, The World According to Garp.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - Publishers Weekly

"Will entertain the faithful and annoy readers who think this author has already written the same novel too many times." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review." - Booklist

"If the author weren't so concerned with the minutiae of his characters' lives, this could have been a few hundred pages shorter, probably better, and a whole lot less skeptical of readers' intelligence." - Library Journal

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Author Information

John Irving Author Biography

John Winslow Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His novels include The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, A Son of the Circus, and Last Night In Twisted River. Irving is married and has three sons; he lives in Toronto and in southern Vermont.

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