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A Prayer for Owen Meany Audiobook
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Written by: 
John Irving
Narrated by: 
Joe Barrett
 >   > 
A Prayer for Owen Meany Audiobook

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Regular Price:$34.95
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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

4.4 (5459 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Teddy AGUA DULCE, CA, United States 01-13-14
    Teddy AGUA DULCE, CA, United States 01-13-14 Member Since 2012

    Like??What? What I read is obvious..I am a computer programmer from before we had computers (APL anyone?) I just saw a coyote in our canyon

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "I give copies of this book out ...."
    Where does A Prayer for Owen Meany rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Tops...but I loved this book for years


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not applicable


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Nt applicable


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

    Not applicable


    Any additional comments?

    None that I didn't write on the previous page.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Keys East Keilor, Victoria Australia 11-19-13
    Wayne Keys East Keilor, Victoria Australia 11-19-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
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    Story
    "How Could You Not Enjoy This?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book without qualification.
    It is a wonderful story in print, however, its narration takes it to another higher level.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it on my regular walks and quite often I have had
    to stop walking because of laughing.
    I will continue to enjoy my Audible downloads, however, I have no real expectations that
    I will ever enjoy another book to the extent that I have enjoyed this one.


    What other book might you compare A Prayer for Owen Meany to and why?

    I wish that I had the answer to this!


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

    Not that I am aware of.


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

    No, as I enjoyed the anticipation of my next listen.


    Any additional comments?

    Well done to all concerned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorna 11-16-13
    Lorna 11-16-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    1
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    Story
    "Loved it,"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    l loved this book and would most definitely read it again. l got lost In the characters and was so sorry when l finished reading. A good read ,what this is all about.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The mother really interested me and l Would love to find out more.


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

    NO


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

    yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LHP Clearfield, PA, United States 11-10-13
    LHP Clearfield, PA, United States 11-10-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Book is long but...."
    What did you love best about A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    The unusual story and "The Voice".


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    All of his different voices and his interpretation of Owen's voice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Kasane, Botswana 11-03-13
    Amazon Customer Kasane, Botswana 11-03-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    "Captivating"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version but the use of different voices by the reader enhanced the book for me.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a book that celebrated friendship and courage. It demonstrates constantly that self worth is not dependent on outward appearance or social status. A wonderful object lesson for our time. The story twists and turns and is revealed in stages captivating the listener' attention till you become wholly involved in the book and cannot stop listening. I loved it and it well deserves it's place on the BBC top 100 book list.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful. This book is completely dependent on the physical voice of the main character. It must have been very difficult to achieve and he did it marvelously.


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

    Owen Meany of cause.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maryd1206 10-29-13
    maryd1206 10-29-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A New FAVORITE For Me"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    I would listen to this book again. The narrator absolutely brought this story to life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a very touching story about Owen Meany and how he touched the lives of others. It is poignant as well as hilariously funny. The story absolutely draws you in and you become part of it.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Joe Barrett brought every sentence to life. This is the BEST narration I have heard, and I have listened to more than 50 books. He is never monotonous or "just reading the words". I am absolutely sure that I would not have enjoyed this book as much had I read it. Listening to Joe brought it to life.


    If you could take any character from A Prayer for Owen Meany out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I suppose Owen - he was the one that had such an effect on everyone's life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace Sheets Portland, OR USA 10-24-13
    Candace Sheets Portland, OR USA 10-24-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    I would in a few years. It's long, but it's a great story with a perfect narrator.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story, the characters, the anticipation, the plot twists.


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

    I have not, but he is my favorite narrator so far.


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

    I laughed many times. I cried a few times. Lovely story with so many great characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Get it. You won't be sorry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma Skövde, Sweden 10-19-13
    Emma Skövde, Sweden 10-19-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    4
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    Story
    "Listening to this one"
    Where does A Prayer for Owen Meany rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the very best.


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

    When he was the baby of Jesus.


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

    Have not read the book.


    If you could take any character from A Prayer for Owen Meany out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Owen Meany. Like his character and personality.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Etobicoke, ON, Canada 08-24-13
    Jennifer Etobicoke, ON, Canada 08-24-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Amazing!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Prayer for Owen Meany the most enjoyable?

    The voices. You've gotta hear Owen Meany's voice!! It makes the whole listening experience that much better. A well performed story!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Apo, Ap United States 08-23-13
    Angie Apo, Ap United States 08-23-13 Member Since 2013

    lovelyang

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Great Freakin' Book!!!!!!!!"
    What did you love best about A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    The intrigue. I loved how the author jumped around the giving small glimpses of each character.


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

    I haven't but it makes me want to find others.


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

    It was, but that would be impossible it was very long but well worth it.


    Any additional comments?

    Someone else said how they wished it was more, more story. It makes you want to continue to hear about these peoples lives. I cried near the end; how it all came together. While I don't totally agree with the authors view of religion per say, it did move me in the way Owen allowed himself to be used. That is the real Love of God exhibited. He loved others more than himself!GREAT FREAKIN' BOOK!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    5/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing and memorable book"

    I've read two other novels by the author and hoped that this book would be as good. I wasn’t disappointed: it’s a remarkable creation that will stick in my mind for a long time.
    I didn’t want it to end. It starts as a story of small town America and then diverges in all directions as the eponymous Owen and his close friend John grow from boyhood to manhood and we get to know their families, foibles and achievements. On the back of their story, populated by many larger than life characters, the author lets his imagination rip as he contemplates questions of morality, religion, politics, loyalty, love, war and patriotism to name but a few of the myriad of topics that enrich this marvellous book that tugs at the emotions but also very funny at times. Owen Meany is an extraordinary creation. Never exceeding 5 feet tall with a voice that has hasn’t broken he dominates the book and all around him. The narrator gives him such a memorable voice:, a cross between Twittie Pie and Donald Duck, that makes him endearing but not one to be pitied: he is an heroic character.
    The narrator is outstanding and brought the characters to life in this memorable book.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom
    4/4/13
    Overall
    "Just listen - it will captivate you"

    Let it just keep going, because the start is a little slow. It's long - and it will be worth every minute of your time.



    Beautiful writing, and such expert narration.



    Sad and sobering though some of the story is, it's not written in a way that cynically tries to milk the pathos. In fact, most of the sad incidents are dealt with in such a matter-of-fact way, it helps you to deal with it, too. It is also a very funny book, with sly, sideways humour and sometimes some pure slapstick comic passages.



    I really did love this boo and was very sad to leave it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Brendan
    Ballinasloe, Ireland
    1/8/13
    Overall
    "An Oscar for Joseph Barrett."

    Joe Barrett deserves an award for his beautiful reading of this beautiful book. (that's only 13 words)

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Brenda Dayne
    Wales
    7/29/10
    Overall
    "A moving masterpiece."

    A beautifully crafted, funny, heartbreaking work of genius from a world-class writer at the top of his game, A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of those books that simply defies easy description.

    It's about angels. And armadillos. THE VOICE. An armless Indian and an headless Holy Goalie. A lethal baseball, a Christmas pageant baby Jesus, and the precise connection between what the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come saw on a cardboard tombstone and the burned and blistered corpse of a helicopter pilot killed in Vietnam. Through all the quirky characters and masterful plotting, however, at its heart, A Prayer for Owen Meany is about family, friendship, community, and what it really means to be a hero.

    Narrator, Joe Barret's, pitch perfect reading captured the spirit and voice of each unforgettable character, including that of Owen Meany, whose screeching, grating, damaged voice is portrayed in the novel in full caps. Somehow Barret accomplishes this feat in such a way that he fully embodies Owen's unforgettable voice, yet is still easy on the ears of audio book listeners.

    This Audible version of A Prayer for Owen Meany made me laugh, made me fall in love with Owen Meany and, ultimately, broke my heart. When the book was over, I missed Owen, as if I'd known him.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • LB
    UK
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Stunningly well written & read"

    Not my usual cup of tea, but 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' builds up over the length of the book into a great mix of characters and plots.



    Throughout the entire storyline there are beautiful little references to seemingly innocuous past events, with the smallest details weaving such a wonderful picture, leaving the reader (listener) with a clarity of what this world looks like and what the people are like, but still allowing the imagination to form the shapes.



    I wished my drive to work was longer so I could have listened to more in one go, and in fact there were occasions that I took a 'long-cut' just to hear a particular story line thread play out!



    It is to a budding novelist as a Mozart concerto is to a wannabe musician who has just picked up a tambourine... You think you'd like to try your hand at writing, then you see this and realise what a really good author can produce.



    I'm a great fan of the Jason Bourne series, and John Le Carre is by far my favourite author of a book series or genre, but Owen Meany is that exception to the rule. Truly mesmerising.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine
    Cambridge, United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "This is what audiobooks are for!"

    What a treat. It's long but I would have rather it hadn't ended... An immersive experience

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Kaggy
    United Kingdom
    11/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Such an annoying boy - but totally captivating..."

    Prepare to be irritated, infuriated and enchanted by Owen Meany in equal measure. This is a book about friendship, love, religion and war - all the big themes - but beautifully woven into a vivid story about a charismatic boy in small town America, spanning the Fifties to the Eighties. Joe Barrett does a marvelous job of narrating this lengthy story, particularly in tackling Owen's screechy voice in an honest and unfliching way.

    I recommend you listen to the final chapter, which is an interview with John Irving and an amazing insight into how an author understands his own work.

    This a big time investment but probably one of the best you will ever make.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Tonbridge, United Kingdom
    12/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wonderful wonderful"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    I would listen to Owen Meany again and I plan to. I read this book many years ago and was delighted to see it on Audible. To listen to it was so pleasurable and delightful.The narrator is really really good. Now I am looking for everything else he has done!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Owen Meany is the heart of it and the ending is just so surprising, I was on the edge of my seat and so affected for days.


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

    It certainly made me cry.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Sioux
    9/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Will stay with me forever"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version


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

    The nativity play and the car in the school made me laugh out loud.
    The pathos throughout
    I was desperately ill in hospital for about 3 months. Every evening I was able to listen to this book and shut out what was going on around me. It kept me sane.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favourite?

    They were all equally brilliant


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

    Both


    Any additional comments?

    Read it certainly but Joe Barratt's voice lulled me and enticed me like I was listening to an old friend. A very moving book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Lyra
    Portugal
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "An excellent book on all levels"

    It is well written, the story is very good and, mostly through the character Owen Meany, the book makes lots of important points about the absurdity of many aspects of life. I thoroughly recommend.



    Joe Barrett is a good reader too.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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