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.
©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 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.
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.
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.
Absolutely… such a great story and very enjoyable to listen to.
I didn't want the story to end!
Mom of Twins
I loved the two main characters Johnny Wheelwright the narrator and Owen Meany the main character.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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