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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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  •  
    Sharon Brisbane, Australia 02-19-13
    Sharon Brisbane, Australia 02-19-13 Member Since 2016

    I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A terrific book"

    I truly loved this story and the narration is wonderful, the narrator captures nearly all of the characters beautifully.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 05-22-12
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 05-22-12 Member Since 2014
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    "A Must Read"

    This book would definately rate in my top 5. The narration was wonderful and Owen leaves his print in your heart.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 04-28-12
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 04-28-12
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    "More than worth a credit!"

    I listened to this book because it was being read for a faculty book club. This was my first John Irving book and I found myself captivated - stopping occasionally to text someone else who had read the book to share I thought or question I had.

    The narration is wonderful. I was worried at first that Owen's voice would become tiresome, but it doesn't.

    This is one of those books that I'll seek out a hardcover copy of for my personal collection.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 07-25-12
    Dan 07-25-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Glad I listened- now I know"

    I liked this book-I never loved this book. I liked the story and narration, I liked the writing and underlying ideas. If it was half as long it wouldn't have been so deep and involved but would have advanced the story. I think that would have hurt the writer's vision. Stll, for me, I got deep into it and prayed for it to be over. I feel a bit bad about that. It was good, but not my style. It superficially presents one burning question and in the end answers it. That was what got me and held me til the end. Had it not intrigued me I might well have given up. As you see, I am conflicted. I liked it. I didn't like it's length. I'm sure I'm just not literate enough to have been deeply involved throughout. I could hear the first couple hours and the last couple and get about as much--but that's me. I liked it- I never loved it. Now I know.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Franklin, CT, United States 08-02-11
    Jill Franklin, CT, United States 08-02-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A Wonderful Book!"

    The World According to Garp was one of my favorite books back in the 80's. I loved the characters and Irving's sense of humor when dealing with serious issues. I had not read A Prayer for Owen Meany, so I decided to buy it. What a treat! The characters are amazingly crazy, and Owen Meany is a special guy in more than one way. The descriptions of childhood memories, such as a Christmas play, had me laughing out loud and chuckling later. I think Irving's indulgence in railing against the Reagan administration unfortunately made the book more dated in its outlook and a bit annoying, but it did not take away from my overall love for the total book. He tied things together well at the end, and actually ended up more balanced than I feared earlier in the book. Also, Joe Barrett did an absolutely amazing job on the reading, authentically portraying a New England accent. I am amazed that he could make his voice move around to do the different characters, particularly Owen Meany. Now I think I will revisit T.S. Garp!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Warren, AR, United States 06-01-11
    Sandra Warren, AR, United States 06-01-11
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    "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

    This is one of those books that has been on my list, and I never got around to reading it. Now I cannot wait to read other books by John Irving. This book captivated me on the first page and held my undivided interest until the very end. In fact, I found myself thinking about the book for days after I had completed it.John Irving develops the characters into people who are larger than life. I also really enjoyed this narrator. Seldom do I search by narrators, but now I look to find other readings by Joe Barrett.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa San Francisco, CA, United States 08-28-11
    lisa San Francisco, CA, United States 08-28-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Long But Good"

    I do not at all agree w/ the reviewers that claim this is a "must listen!" This is a very particular type of story and certainly not for everyone. That being said, it was a very entertaining story and I did find myself drawn in by the story and many of the characters; I grew up in New England not long after this story though, and partially I think that accounts for much of my interest. I would say that the major draw-back is John Irving's overly, overly long digressions abut political info. or books the characters are reading that have no bearing on the main story whatsoever. several hours of this boring stuff could have been lopped off and the story wouldn't have changed one bit. otherwise, a totally original and very interesting read.

    36 of 44 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Dayton, TX, United States 05-23-13
    Shannon Dayton, TX, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Awesome book!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because you get to here the voice of Owen Meany. At first the voice he uses for Owen Meany is weird and that is what the characters in the book also think but then the voice grows on you and you grow to love him as do the characters in the book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Everything!


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

    I dont know if I could have truly experienced the character of Owen Meany without the voice.


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

    This book mad me laugh and made me sad at times.


    Any additional comments?

    This book had so many facets to it. There is friendship, faith, history, miracles, love and mystery and it all comes around and makes an amazing, complete circle. I can't believe I had never heard of this book. Owen Meany's name will always be locked in my head just like Atticus, Scout and Boo Radley from "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Amir and Hassan from "The Kite Runner".

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Marietta, GA, United States 05-17-13
    Larry Marietta, GA, United States 05-17-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Epic"

    One of the best. Uplifting. Intriguing. Makes one think. Couldn't wait to hear the next chapter.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Napier, New Zealand 05-28-12
    Carol Napier, New Zealand 05-28-12
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    "This deserves 10 stars!"

    I read alot and listen to alot of audio books. When I listen to a book like "A Prayer for Owen Meany", I realize just how average most books are - good but not great. This book was GREAT!

    I will definitely listen to this again, and maybe even purchase the hardcopy; although the narration was so wonderful that I'm not sure reading it would be the same as listening.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • James
    winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom
    9/12/09
    Overall
    "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

    great book, lovely narration, a fantastic way to spend 26hrs.

    though is just shame a about the music. particularly at the end, as it kicks in when you are lost in the story and it brings you round like a slap the face just when you want to be left with your thoughts. why is it there ? as you can tell it has left an unfortunate final impression on this version. this is as shame as otherwise I loved this book.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • MR Coffey
    7/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stay with it - a masterpiece."
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    Yes - the central character is just so captivating as is the book's narrator.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Owen Meany - prophetic, small, squeaky voiced, and enthralling.


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

    The narration is what makes this - just outstanding - the best I've heard in an audible book - his range of voices is consistently brilliant.


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

    Yes - the ending was moving and the big story of the US' conscience and the Vietnam War is revealed superbly in the tale


    Any additional comments?

    Stick with it for the first few chapters until the characters grow on you. The humour is laugh out loud and irreverent and yet spiritual too without ever being pious. Irving says in the interview at the end that the challenge he set himself was to ask as an atheist, what it would take for him to come to believe in God.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Burcin
    Hellerup, Denmark
    12/11/11
    Overall
    "difficult to go through"

    There is an interesting story in this book but really really taking long time to get through. I rather preferred reading the book instead of listening then I could skip some pages more quickly. I am in the last 6 hours and feeling like I can't breathe anymore while trying to get it done. Narration is excellent, the accents are very well done, story is good but unnecessarily long.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jobo
    spalding, uk
    8/21/10
    Overall
    "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

    This was absolutely superb. Myself and my wife had both read the story about ten years ago, but still throroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The reader was superb and his characterisation was a real addition to the book. If you've not heard or read the book yourself, I'd throughly recommend this. Friends have said it is their favourite story and I'm planning on making a gift of the audiobook to them, which shows the quality.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Elinor
    Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
    7/30/10
    Overall
    "A PRAISE FOR OWEN MEANY"

    This audio book was recommended to me and I was new to John Irving. The novel is compelling and carries you through the life of the narrator from his early years to middle age jumping from the past to the present.
    Joe Barrett reads this beautifully. It is crystal clear and the listener is carried through the story by his wonderful reading. Owen Meaney himself has to have a very distinct voice and Barrett creates a character with truth and credibility.
    A fantastic, absorbing novel enhanced by being so well read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    West Wickham, United Kingdom
    5/31/10
    Overall
    "A fine book"

    This is a fine book, and in Owen Meany, the author has created a truly memorable character. It is not a fast paced listen, but somehow manages to retain your interest throughout. John Irving's prose can plod at times - I did muse what this story might have been like in the hands of, say, Vladimir Nabokov - and this plodding is not helped by what at times is a rather worthy narration, but to be fair to the narrator he does do Owen Meany himself brilliantly, and generally holds your interest.

    All that said, I did enjoy the book a lot, and have downloaded another of John Irving's books as a result.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Annie
    Twickenham, United Kingdom
    9/24/09
    Overall
    "Amazing"

    Absolutely amazing, have just finished it and want to start it all over again. , this is the first Irving novel that I have read and cannot wait to read another. He is a modern master story teller, a la Dickens. Intellegent and spell binding and beautifully narrated.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • L Barber
    3/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic story"

    This may possibly be the best story ever, up there with Bronte, Hardy and Austin. The narration is also superb and now it is over, I am bereft.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sunshine
    UK
    3/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Truly wonderful storytelling"

    This is an enthralling story. Narrator is so good, you don't hear him. Really memorable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wosul
    UK
    2/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fellow atheists need not be put off by the start."

    Author interview at the end is an inciteful addition to this beautifully told tale of an inspiring and superhuman friend who is also a great burden despite his light weight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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