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)
Tell us about yourself! Hated reading books. It wasn't till I found audible that I found how great books can be.
A very good and enjoyable deep seated book if you don't listen to what the author said in the interview at the end. I didn't see it in the narrative but after the interview I did and it was total hypocrisy. A very good book but stay away from the interview. John Irving should stick to writing not dissecting his books as everybody sees things in a different way even the author!
Yes I'd listen to this again because the story is great and because the narrator does a wonderful job.
Highly recommend this audio book!
The time John Irving takes to develop his characters shows that he is well read in history, politics, literature, psychology, and religion. It's a lengthy story, but the small details throughout the book culminate meaningfully at the end. By the time I finished the book, I felt the loss of dear Owen Meany praying with Johnny that God would bring him back.
It is magical. It has friendship, love-in many forms, coming of age, vision-quite literally, conflict with society, soulfulness, mystery and it is written in a most masterful manner. This is my favorite book of all time. In my thinking, there is nothing better!
Goldfinch-Epic, coming of age. A wonderful book, but it is very difficult to compare anything to A Prayer for Owen Meany.
I do not recall listening to him. His performance was great.
It may require a knowledge of the era.
The story was a joy to read, and the narrater, Joe Barrett, made the book come alive with his extraordinary voice interpretations. Also enjoyed John Irving's commentary at the end of the story.
Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo? Only because both are so very well-written. And I found myself really caring about the characters in the books.
Owen Meany, of course. But I loved grandmother as well.
No, way too long.
This would be a great audio book for a long trip.
In general I really enjoy John Irving and the story, character development, the writing and the performance of Joe Barrett are a perfect mix. I listen in the car and never wanted to leave the bubble. I miss Owen Meany.
I cried often while listening to this book; not necessarily from it being sad but from the beautiful descriptions of the characters and their psychology. Irving has a great way of making you feel what his characters feel without having to label them.
This was an amazing story. I laughed, I wanted to weep. It was hard to put down once I got into the plot. There were several unexpected plot twists. Also I loved the audible version because the narrator did a wonderful job in the voices he used for various characters especially Owen Meany. It's a book I would recommend and listen to or read again.
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