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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 Irvin's book, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview that begins when the audiobook ends.

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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  •  
    Lily 09-06-14
    Lily 09-06-14 Member Since 2013

    bunnymama

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Anthony A. Heying Crossville, TN 08-27-14
    Anthony A. Heying Crossville, TN 08-27-14 Member Since 2015

    eggman

    ratings
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    42
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    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    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
    ratings
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    19
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Fiona Buderim, Australia 06-01-14
    Fiona Buderim, Australia 06-01-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    Absolutely… such a great story and very enjoyable to listen to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Definitely Owen…


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't want the story to end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Heard 04-25-14
    E. Heard 04-25-14 Member Since 2011

    Mom of Twins

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Truly literary with The Voice as a key plot device"
    What did you love best about A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    I loved the two main characters Johnny Wheelwright the narrator and Owen Meany the main character.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Owen's voice is a key plot device and it couldn't have been better executed. This performance is outstanding. It added richness and depth to a great story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Grest Los Angeles 04-18-14
    C. Grest Los Angeles 04-18-14 Member Since 2015

    C. Grest

    ratings
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    "Not may favorite John Irving book... but..."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This book was slow. It never really picked up. I was always waiting for it to get started. And I have to say... John Irving repeats himself a lot about small details. He really repeats himself... so this book could've been cut in half. So 1/2 the book was time well spent.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Owen Meany... the character and how we was read was great! I also liked the main character's search for his real father... and he that sub-plot does pay off. All the God-stuff was the least interesting. There was just too much God-stuff.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Joe Barrett was great. I kept getting bored with the book and then Joe Barrett would read Owen's voice and I would just smile and continue on.


    Was A Prayer for Owen Meany worth the listening time?

    I don't really support the idea of abridged books, but this one I would recommend an abridged version. I just message audible about carrying both versions and when you purchase one you get both.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked this book, but boy am I glad to be done with it. I've read some really long books... 50 hours... and this one feels like 50 hours even though it's only 24.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald E. Campbell Pearl, MS USA 02-18-14
    Donald E. Campbell Pearl, MS USA 02-18-14 Member Since 2012

    reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just a good read"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a book that I started reading about 5 times in the past and for some reason never made it all the way through. I think John Irving is a great writer and glad that I gave it another go. It is a wonderful book. The narration is amazing. The narrator's interpretation of Owen Meany's voice could not be more spot-on. One thing that is great about this book is that you think you know what is going on -- but do you? You have to listen to the entire book to get the full story. Well written (of course) and some interesting turns -- the definition of a good story. And one more thing -- the last 20 minutes of the recording is an interview with John Irving about the book. It has spoilers in it, but it is almost worth listening to before hearing the book. It really makes John and Owen even more interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    megaira Denver 02-09-14
    megaira Denver 02-09-14 Member Since 2016

    megaira

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Great, but he didn't capture "the voice""
    Any additional comments?

    I *love* this book and if you haven't ever read it, I recommend listening or reading. What bothered me about this likely won't bother you at all.

    For me, having read it and loved it, he didn't really capture Owen Meany's voice, which for me, leaned closer to a "Simon Birch" interpretation. Because this is such a huge, signature element of the novel, it's distracting. The rest is great, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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