ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

158-Pound Marriage Book Review

Updated on May 21, 2012

Book by John Irving


The 158-Pound Marriage

Book Review


This slim tome by John Irving, the same author who gave us The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, is a fast jaunt through the sexual relations of four people, 2 men and 2 women, wives and husbands, knowingly sleeping with each other, and then dealing with the creeping ramifications of their feelings set in the backdrop of sexuality and life as everyday people in Smalltown, New England.


Like much of John Irving’s work, 158-Pound Marriage is sexual, absolutely dripping with flesh on flesh. Yet, no crude porn is this, but rather the literary erotica reminiscent of D. H. Lawrence. And like Lawrence, it is not merely the exercise of literary ability molded over a desire to write of the body, but to make a point as existential (or non-existential) as life itself may at times be. For instance: “I was in her mouth very quickly and she covered my ears with her thighs. Utch tasted like nutmeg [sic], like vanilla, like an avocado; she was careful with her teeth.” While sensual, it is steps beyond the mere base instinct of lust.


This is friends and lovers reborn –the friends who become lovers, when in a couple, when couples mesh in more than heartfelt discussion by a fire. This is intimacy grown too intimate, as is all too human. Yet it is also funny, witty, fleetingly paradoxical at moments, and ever philosophical. The book, like all of his works, quintessentially John Irving, will make you think.


Irving’s recurrent themes of Iowa, wrestling, sex, and the setting of New England are replete between the pages, though it is the characters, especially Severin Winter, whose history and life frame the story, only to be continually reframed as the story is reborn again and again, allowing the reader to get to know each new character, by going back in time to catch further biographical snapshots that converge in the plot at who each was and is, with hints towards the future and the story’s trajectory.


Things become tense, as is true of any good story, and this tension becomes the meat of the tale that goes on and on until, very quickly, it is done.


Now the search for another John Irving novel begins. Maybe A Prayer for Owen Meany.


John Irving, The 158-Pound Marriage, copyright 1973. Published by Ballantine Books & Random House, Inc.



Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)