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A Prayer for Owen Meany | [John Irving]

A Prayer for Owen Meany

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.
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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.

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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  •  
    Lisa Seagrave, Ontario, Canada 08-12-11
    Lisa Seagrave, Ontario, Canada 08-12-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful!"

    A beautiful and touching story. A must read/listen for everyone. You will not be disappointed. So sad it's over. I wish the story never ended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Schreiber 08-10-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    7
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    Overall
    "Great Read"

    It kept my total interest the whole time and was just the best book I've listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John ATLANTA, GA, United States 07-31-11
    John ATLANTA, GA, United States 07-31-11 Member Since 2010

    John S. I enjoy the audiobook experience. History, fiction and biography seem to be my favorites. Audiobooks are like friends. The stories do grow in the telling. The art of narration, the conscious act of storytelling is essential.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ABSOLUTE IRVING"

    What a wonderful audiobook experience. A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY is one of my favorite listens and I recommend it highly for anyone who prizes the unique marriage of fine writing and superb narration. John Irving is one of my favorite American novelists. In A PRAYER FOR OWN MEANY he focuses the sum of his many literary talents through this one unforgettable story. Irving is truly a masterful storyteller. He captures the reader/listener's attention from the very beginning with humor, wonderfully-crafted characters, honest human longing and a writer's compassion for the inner oddball that each of us carries through our own waking worlds. Likewise, Joe Barrett narrates A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY with his own compliment of artistry and empathy. He is perhaps the one reader in this business with the skill and sensitivity to create the requirement of Owen Meany's legendary annoying voice in a manner that in no way loses the spot-on wisdom of Owen's words. If you want to experience a really fine American novel by one of our best writers and audiobook artsts, A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY is the ideal choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Hansen Albany, OR 07-30-11
    C. Hansen Albany, OR 07-30-11 Member Since 2009
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    "I laughed, I cried."

    I loved this book. The narrator was fantastic in bringing the characters to life. I adored Owen and did not want the story to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Venice, FL, United States 07-29-11
    Janet Venice, FL, United States 07-29-11
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    4
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    44
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    "Great Book.....but"

    I really enjoyed this book, and I got it because of all the positive reviews. My only problem is, why must the reader be subjected to the authors political views? That was the only thing that turned me off. I found myself tuning out at certain points, and then getting back into it when he stuck to the relationships and characters. I think you can write a book like this without adding all your own political views. I would have rated this 5 stars if not for that!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vida High Ridge, MO, United States 07-22-11
    Vida High Ridge, MO, United States 07-22-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Wouldn't listen to again"

    I am rating this a 2 because the premise of the story is good. However, it was all I could do to force myself to finish this book. What I really didn't like about it was the authors constant "I hate America" theme, which didn't add to the story. The author comes off sounding like a spoiled, angst-ridden ex-pat professor who feels like he has to constantly condemn Americans and every thing about Americans. The narrator did a good job except that 'the voice" of Owen Meany was so grating, that if you feel you must read this book, do exactly that, read it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reney Dunedin, FL, United States 06-24-11
    Reney Dunedin, FL, United States 06-24-11 Member Since 2010

    I like to listen to adventure stories and funny stories. I have a real preference for travel tales and sometimes even enjoy a good mystery. I love fiction, but also like to learn facts. I like all kinds of stories. Follow me, if you do too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "John Irving - not his best, but more than OK"

    Owen Meany is an unforgettable character - you will identify with him- expecially if you grew up in New England in the 60's as I did. I don't always understand little Owen, but in his time and place, he makes a weird, wonderful kind of sense. If not, at least he's honest - what more could you expect from John Irving. Yes, he's long-winded . . .but an important writer that we will be reading for years to come.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MONROE, MI, United States 05-15-11
    Amazon Customer MONROE, MI, United States 05-15-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Add to Your Top Ten Listen to List"

    You can't judge a book by its cover and I almost didn't buy this because of the jacket cover! What a shame that would have been. This book is a must LISTEN, ....some books should not be Kindled, printed or pixelated. Don't be put off by the comments about its religious undertones, the book is more about Fate than Faith. Has voice ever been such a crucial component in a story?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Stone Mountain, GA, United States 04-11-11
    Frank Stone Mountain, GA, United States 04-11-11 Member Since 2012
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    "Long, but worth it"

    If you weren't a John Irving fan before, you will be after listening to this book. It is long and sometimes tedious (listening to the voice of Owen can get on one's nerves) but in my opinion it is a classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katy West Lafayette, IN, United States 04-05-11
    Katy West Lafayette, IN, United States 04-05-11
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    "I can't stand this book"

    I will be very glad to stop listening but I will finish because it is interesting and well-narrated. However, there is so much misogyny and the infused gripes of my father's generation that I hate the author and the narrator. Plus, nothing irks me more than the idea that everything happens for a reason. The politics of this book are OK, and the descriptions are excellent, dialogue believable, and some male characters as well.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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