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.
©1989 Garp Enterprises Ltd; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
“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)
I enjoyed this book so much that I probably will listen again.
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.
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.
Oh, no. I wanted to savor it over time.
This is my new favorite book. I wanted this to be a long audiobook because I enjoyed spending time with the characters.
I read the book many years ago, but didn't appreciate it until this audible version.
The characters are all very well drawn and it's impossible to pick one.
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.
Defiinitely yes, but I was also hoping I could make it last forever.
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.
I am a college professor and professional actor, director and playwright. The peformance of the book is as important to me as the writing.
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.
The entire story, while lengthy is captivating.
The Principle character Owen Meany
I loved the book and I'll listen to another of the authors tomes to compare
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.
Avid reader. Constant Audible listener. Currently deep into foreign crime detective novels. Especially a fan of noire and police procedural.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The baseball game at the beginning and Owen's purpose at the end.
Cried a little but did not provoke intense emotion.
Balanced, important, effectual.
The scene in the "trailer park." Owen comments that this is what America is becoming, and I agree.
When Owen is kicked out of Grave's End.
Owen, of course, though I very much liked Owen's father as well.
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.
No, except for a few very funny moments. The main story, with its religious tone, did not engage me.
The reader, who in general is very good, has to "reproduce" Owen Meany's shrill voice, and this did not sound convincing to me.
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