John Irving is a master story teller. The characters come alive. I didn't every want it to end. I highly recommend this to every one.
Irving's writing is lean, the narrator rich and the plot fantastic. My only problem with this book was that occasionally I would listen to it at work. While there is mildly NSFW content, the biggest issue was that the narrator did such a good job of creating Owen's wrecked voice that co-workers kept wondering what I was listening to.
My mistake, I guess. I had forgotten how wordy an Irving book can be. The longer I listened, the more irritating the narration was. The "Meany" voice was intolerable to me. Story was not engaging enough to give any reason to plow on.
I listened for 6 hours, waiting to get hooked. I finally realized it wasn't going to happen when I stopped for gas and didn't feel the need to put my iPod on pause. The narrator does a great job, but this story is like a soap opera. Nothing much happens. Sure, there were quite a few humorous events, some great insights into human nature, and some interesting off-topic political rants. I'm sure there are a lot more gems of life lessons if I kept listening, but I don't want to work this hard. I want a book that makes me sit in my car listening when I'm already at my destination, and this book is not one of those.
I am a Stephen King and maybe spoiled, but this book was thee longest, most boring book I ever listen to. I waited for it to get going, it never did. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! You will be disappointed!
This is a great book. I had read it years ago, and listening to it was pure joy. Irving is a wonderful storyteller, weaving threads to form a tapestry rich in pattern and detail. It is a book for the nonbeliever who wants to believe as well as for the believer who wants to believe thoughtfully.