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John Irving

Updated on May 25, 2012

There has never been an author that has captured me as much as John Irving has. I have all his novels, and wish he could write and publish faster than his usual two to three year stretches between them.

He is the only one that I will not except a paperback from; it must be a hardback for me to dissect and absorb. The reason for my passions and near covetous of his novels is because of his 'black humor' and the way he breaks the social codes of our time, and gets away with it. And if your a follower or fan of my hubs, you'd be far from surprised.

My day didn't start off with me wanting to do a hub biography of John Irving. With the recent 'spanking' I got for using the wrong word in the title of my hub pages; I had immediately wanted to do a hub bio on George Carlin. But that slot was quite full with hubs from other hubsters, and I had already done a Lenny Bruce hub. All three would have 'loved' to have been told by their publishers they could not use a certain word. It would have made their day, and no doubt would have gotten their creative juices flowing as well. Words and guns don't kill on their own, people do.

"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth." -George Carlin

"People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think." -George Carlin

With Wife and Agent

His interview with Mother Jones magazine -May/June 1997 Issue

"You can't say you're going to ban something in the name of good taste, because then you have directed someone to play the role of good-taste police. We permit bad taste in this country. In fact, we even encourage it -- and reward it in all manner of ways."

"Moreover, it's magical thinking to imagine that the reason unspeakable things are being perpetrated by younger and younger people is that they've fallen under the influence of seductive, lascivious, prurient, and violent material in books, films, television."

"It seems to me that a great deal of this type of censorship has to do with absolving parents of responsibility -- parents who just plop their kids in front of the television and leave them there hour upon hour."

"If you feel so strongly about what's on television, don't have one. If you feel strongly about people having abortions, don't have one. But we are a country that likes to be punitive. We want to restrict. It is a kind of religious fervor run a muck."

John Winslow Irving (born John Wallace Blunt, Jr.; March 2, 1942

Irving's career began at the age of 26 with the publication of his first novel, Setting Free the Bears.

Irving achieved critical and popular acclaim after the international success of The World According to Garp in 1978.

Several of Irving's books (Garp, Meany, A Widow for One Year) and short stories have been set in and around Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, where Irving grew up as the son of an Exeter faculty member, Colin F.N. Irving (1941), and nephew of another, H. Hamilton "Hammy" Bissell (1929)

He won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for 1999 for his script of The Cider House Rules.

Though it is not a widely known fact, The World According to Garp was, along with "Continental Drift" by Russell Banks, were considered a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1979.

Irving has had four novels reach number one on the bestseller list of The New York Times: The Hotel New Hampshire (September 27, 1981), which stayed number one for seven weeks, and was in the top 15 for over 27 weeks, The Cider House Rules (June 16, 1985), A Widow for One Year (June 14, 1998), and The Fourth Hand (July 29, 2001).

On June 28, 2005, The New York Times published an article revealing that Until I Find You contains two specifically personal elements about his life that he has never before discussed publicly: his sexual abuse at age 11 by an older woman, and the recent entrance in his life of his biological father's family.

In his most recent novel, Last Night in Twisted River, published in 2009, Irving's central character is a novelist with a career that teasingly follows Irving's own.


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