Avenue of Mysteries: Book summary and reviews of Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

Avenue of Mysteries

by John Irving

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving X
Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2015
    480 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

John Irving returns to the themes that established him as one of our most admired and beloved authors in this absorbing novel of fate and memory.

In Avenue of Mysteries, Juan Diego - a fourteen-year-old boy, who was born and grew up in Mexico - has a thirteen-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she thinks she sees what's coming - specifically, her own future and her brother's. Lupe is a mind reader; she doesn't know what everyone is thinking, but she knows what most people are thinking. Regarding what has happened, as opposed to what will, Lupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you.

Lupe doesn't know the future as accurately. But consider what a terrible burden it is, if you believe you know the future - especially your own future, or, even worse, the future of someone you love. What might a thirteen-year-old girl be driven to do, if she thought she could change the future?

As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. As we grow older - most of all, in what we remember and what we dream—we live in the past. Sometimes, we live more vividly in the past than in the present.

Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past - in Mexico - collides with his future.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Irving (In One Person, 2012) is spectacularly hilarious and incisive in this tender, mystical, yet caustic tale, which features a wrathful statue of the Virgin Mary and impassioned castigations of the church's tragic failings." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Irving... makes sly winks at his own oeuvre and his life as a novelist, while taking a stand on the place of imagination in fiction. An essential purchase." - Library Journal

"Diehard Irving fans will likely enjoy this latest, but those without such loyalties might be better served reading (or rereading) A Prayer for Owen Meany." - Publishers Weekly

"Irving works his familiar themes - Catholicism, sex, death - with a light and assured touch, and though the dream-narrative construct is a little shelf-worn, it serves the story well. Though not as irresistible as early works such as The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, a welcome return to form." - Kirkus

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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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