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A Prayer for Owen Meany Audiobook

A Prayer for Owen Meany

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Publisher's Summary

Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended.

In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of John Irving’s book, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview added to your library.

Why we think it’s a great listen: For 20 years, John Irving believed that his ambitious novel could never be adequately executed in audio – and then he met narrator Joe Barrett.... In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys - best friends - are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument.


This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.

©1989 Garp Enterprises Ltd; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“John Irving, who writes novels in the unglamorous but effective way Babe Ruth used to hit home runs, deserves a medal not only for writing this book but for the way he has written it. . . . A Prayer for Owen Meany is a rare creation in the somehow exhausted world of late twentieth-century fiction—it is an amazingly brave piece of work . . . so extraordinary, so original, and so enriching. . . . Readers will come to the end feeling sorry to leave [this] richly textured and carefully wrought world.” (Stephen King)

"Roomy, intelligent, exhilarating, and darkly comic...Dickensian in scope....Quite stunning and very ambitious." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

"John Irving is an abundantly and even joyfully talented storyteller." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Carolyn Pile 09-06-14 Member Since 2011

    pilegirl

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Best Book I Ever Listened To"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    I enjoyed this book so much that I probably will listen again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    John Irving really makes you care about what happens to his characters. The timeline sometimes jumps around, so I knew something was going to happen to a character, but I still hoped it wouldn't. I found myself worried about his fate.


    What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    How did he come up with the unique voice of Owen Meany? And his women's voices really do sound like women, even the grandmother sounds like just the sort of old lady described in the book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oh, no. I wanted to savor it over time.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my new favorite book. I wanted this to be a long audiobook because I enjoyed spending time with the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lily 09-06-14
    Lily 09-06-14 Member Since 2013

    bunnymama

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    "The Best of Irving"
    What made the experience of listening to A Prayer for Owen Meany the most enjoyable?

    I read the book many years ago, but didn't appreciate it until this audible version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The characters are all very well drawn and it's impossible to pick one.


    What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I have always felt that a good narrator makes an audible book into a movie in my mind. Joe Barrett certainly did that. I could see everything so clearly.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Defiinitely yes, but I was also hoping I could make it last forever.


    Any additional comments?

    I always thought "Garp" was my favorite Irving book. Now I'm going to have to listen to the audible version of that one to see if it maintains first place. "Owen Meany" is a stand-out of a book and will be hard to beat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenda hubbard 08-30-14 Member Since 2012

    I am a college professor and professional actor, director and playwright. The peformance of the book is as important to me as the writing.

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    "Intolerable"

    I had heard from friends that this is one of the greatest books every written, and so I purchased it. There are those books that one should not listen to but read- and this is one of them. The main character has a voice that is described as high pitched and difficult to listen to. And it was. After about a half hour I thought, "if I have to listen to even 5 more minutes of this unpleasant voice, I am going to do someone some sort of bodily harm!" So, I am thinking that this is a book that will be better to read about the unpleasant voice than to have to listen to it for hours and hours on end..
    It may be "one of the greatest novels every written," but if nails on a chalk board set your teeth on edge, then this recorded book is not for you.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Heying Crossville, TN 08-27-14
    Anthony Heying Crossville, TN 08-27-14 Member Since 2015

    eggman

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    "This is a very funny book"
    What made the experience of listening to A Prayer for Owen Meany the most enjoyable?

    The entire story, while lengthy is captivating.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Principle character Owen Meany


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    None


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the book and I'll listen to another of the authors tomes to compare

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Cook 08-25-14
    C. Cook 08-25-14
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    "Owen Meany Lives"

    Okay, take a great story and write it with skill. You get a great book. BUT now add superb narration and you simply cannot stop listening. This book is like a series of short stories, but with the same characters. I was amazed that Irving has probably 40+ characters in this book -- but I was never confused. He has a gift for the right word, the right metaphor. His characters are rich and deep. Owen Meany touched my spirit in so many ways -- I find myself imitating him (yes, it is a little embarrassing...).

    This goes on my list of all time best books ever read. Thank you John Irving; thank you Joe Barrett.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 08-25-14
    Diane 08-25-14 Member Since 2014

    Avid reader. Constant Audible listener. Currently deep into foreign crime detective novels. Especially a fan of noire and police procedural.

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    "Reminiscent of The World According to Garp"

    Enticing beginning, but lags in places, finally falling into tedious story-telling reminiscent of Irving's previous writings. I found my attention diminishing as the story progressed, until I eventually lost interest altogether. I have yet to wade through the final hours -- may never motivate myself to do so. Quite a disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Moire Linden, VA, United States 08-06-14
    Moire Linden, VA, United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2002

    Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.

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    "Like a really long story from Lake Woebegone"

    I have always been confused about John Irving's books. I love his easy writing style, but his plots are overworked and his characters are undeveloped stereo types. This one deals with the trials and tribulations of a small town in New Hampshire. Irving clearly drew on his personal experiences to create the town of Gravesend, but there is too much philosophy, and not enough charm to support the entire novel. It's charming, but just goes on too long without saying enough. The conciet of time shifting throughout the book gets rather annoying. I found myself wondering why I would want to know what an old guy thought about his religion. I was far more interested in the actions of the youngsters. I also think that the time shifting was an easy way to avoid having to make the characters evolve into adulthood.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vivi 07-30-14
    Vivi 07-30-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Good listen. Slow story but thought provoking"
    Where does A Prayer for Owen Meany rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Was a long story and became boring at times. Ended well though. It was interesting but not exciting. Was a good read but not one that I would listen to twice. The narration was excellent!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    The baseball game at the beginning and Owen's purpose at the end.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Cried a little but did not provoke intense emotion.


    Any additional comments?

    Decent read

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart 07-25-14
    Stuart 07-25-14
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    "Many years too late"
    If you could sum up A Prayer for Owen Meany in three words, what would they be?

    Balanced, important, effectual.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    The scene in the "trailer park." Owen comments that this is what America is becoming, and I agree.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Owen is kicked out of Grave's End.


    Who was the most memorable character of A Prayer for Owen Meany and why?

    Owen, of course, though I very much liked Owen's father as well.


    Any additional comments?

    I should have read this novel years ago. It was an assigned reading in High school and I was a terrible student. If I had read it then, I wonder how it would have affected me, or if I would have seen what my teacher was trying to show me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RDP 06-25-14
    RDP 06-25-14
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    "Disappointed"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No, except for a few very funny moments. The main story, with its religious tone, did not engage me.


    What could John Irving have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Preach less.


    Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader, who in general is very good, has to "reproduce" Owen Meany's shrill voice, and this did not sound convincing to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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