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A Prayer for Owen Meany | [John Irving]

A Prayer for Owen Meany

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.
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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Carlo Hagemann the Netherlands 09-30-12
    Carlo Hagemann the Netherlands 09-30-12 Member Since 2012

    I love to listen to American books. Following the plot, keeping track of personal developments and intrigues while walking two miles to work

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    "Owen Meany as it should be"
    If you could sum up A Prayer for Owen Meany in three words, what would they be?

    Great novel, GREAT VOICE!!!


    Any additional comments?

    A Prayer for Owen Meany has become one of my favorite books years ago, when I read it. A couple of times I've been thinking to read it again, but lack of time withheld me from doing so.
    Now I've listened to the Audiobook, all the fond memories of the written book came back: the funny characters, the armadillo, the baseball, and above all the complex structure that Irving has put his novel in, but that one does not experience as complex. The book just works out!

    And, as mentioned by other reviewers, this book should be listened too, thanks to the gritty voice of Owen Meany. Thank you Joe Barrett

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adriana Milwaukee, WI, United States 09-26-12
    Adriana Milwaukee, WI, United States 09-26-12
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    9
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    "Too Long"

    I tried so hard to finish this book, but after starting part 3 I gave up. It's just not for me. Too much information that does not pertain to the story line. It's repetitive, very slow, and very hard to follow all the jumping around. Perhaps one day I will try it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesli 09-25-12
    Lesli 09-25-12 Member Since 2015

    avid bookworm

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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 haven't read the print version but i found the audio edition to be very compelling


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    i felt like i was listening to someone telling their real life story


    Any additional comments?

    i remember one of my closest friends raving about this book many years ago and referring to it as her favourite. i'm not sure what took me so long to get to it but i'm glad i waited for the audio version.
    i also really enjoyed listening to the references to the area that i live in - made the story seem just that much more real for me

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Hoppers Crossing, Australia 09-18-12
    Eileen Hoppers Crossing, Australia 09-18-12
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    3
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    "Not worth the effort of listening"
    What disappointed you about A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    Everything - the voice of the narrator - the story - the mention of the bible


    What was most disappointing about John Irving’s story?

    When I looked at reviews of this book it sounded interesting but I found it to be very boring and had to give up on it. A waste of money and time.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Joe Barrett?

    One of the narrators from Michael Connelly's books - have enjoyed listening to every book so far.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    Didn't get far enough into this book to answer.


    Any additional comments?

    Wish I hadn't wasted money, download and time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bridgette United States 09-17-12
    Bridgette United States 09-17-12
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    "Can't get it out of my head"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Loved this book, a must read (listen)! Although I finished it several weeks ago, I can't get it out of my head. I always think about the characters, which is a testament to the quality of the writing. I will be listening to it again one day soon.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Salem, OR, United States 09-16-12
    Beth Salem, OR, United States 09-16-12 Member Since 2010

    Love Sci Fi and Fantasy books since I was 8, starting reading A Princess of Mars series in Junior High School thanks to my Uncle Lester.

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    "Amazing Book"

    Incredible book, riveting characters and story, extremely well performed, I didn't want it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Westerly, RI, United States 09-11-12
    Janice Westerly, RI, United States 09-11-12
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    "I'm a devoted fan."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany to be better than the print version?

    Not sure, but a guess would be YES.


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

    No comparison at this time.


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

    I waiver between Owen and the grandmother Wheelwright.


    If you could rename A Prayer for Owen Meany, what would you call it?

    I would not


    Any additional comments?

    I can't believe how very much I loved this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 09-10-12
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 09-10-12 Member Since 2010

    Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth the Investment in Time"

    It is always difficult to commit to a book with 27 hours of audio time. This alone has been too much for some, gauging from the reviews. But if you are looking to commit to something, here's a suitable candidate. It is long, and the narrative can be draining, but the story is so good that the end justifies these means. It's all about the story.
    I guess I read this for two reasons. First, I loved GARP. Secondly, the blurb grabbed me - two eleven year old boys, the best of friends. One, the awkward one, strikes the ball of his life and the baseball kills his best friend's beautiful mother (in my mind, January Jones in case someone is casting for the film). But the friendship endures. In fact it grows. As it does, it captures the loss of a generation (the Vietnam generation) in a critical way that won't please Democrats and Republicans alike. For me, the book delivered on the promise of the blurb and my expectation from GARP.
    I could write about this forever, but this is a review. I will content myself with saying that Irving lives up to his statement (in the accompanying audio interview) that he knew the end from the start. Anyone who gives away the end should be summarily shot! On this subject, I strongly suggest you do not listen to the interview until you have heard the end.
    Something briefly about the performance then; great comes to mind. Barret does an outstanding job. Perhaps it deserves 4.5 stars. His Owen is perfect - a hint of Jerry Lewis in the Martin and Lewis years. I loved his Harriet Wheelwright too; I thought a bit of Fr Mulchaey from Mash, the TV series! Hester the Molester too was wonderfully rendered and Johnny Wheelwright was so well done that at times (in his Canadian incarnation) you positively wanted to strangle him although you loved him.
    All in all, the best first read I have had this year. I wholly endorse this investment.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Northmead, Australia 09-06-12
    Michael Northmead, Australia 09-06-12
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    "A Brilliant Surprise"
    Would you listen to A Prayer for Owen Meany again? Why?

    Like a seduction by a great lover, the foreplay was slow and I was impatient to get to the action but, as the end approached, I just wanted it to go on forever. How could I not want to do it again? I will certainly listen to this audiobook again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Owen Meany was the hero of the story. He worked for what he believed in and he triumphed. He was unique and a few tears leaked from my eyes on a couple of occasions especially near the end.


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

    The voices were marvellous and "The Voice" of Owen Meany still resounds in my mind. An excellent narration. At first it didn't seem that way but, as the story progressed, I longed for that Voice! I don't think it could have been so grasping without Joe Barrett's excellent reading.


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

    It made me both laugh and cry. Not in any extreme way but it evoked unexpected emotions as I shared some moments of Owen's story. John Irving is a wonderful writer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIYBRID 09-05-12
    HIYBRID 09-05-12

    Former steelworker from Buffalo NY retired after 40 yrs. as a Registered Nurse. Viet Vet, did a lot of theater in HS... e-Clectic for sure

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A hidden Hero in a small voiced package"

    The characters are incredibly engaging and Irving paints each of them with the acuracy of a master. You will find yourself absorbed immediately and identifying with that part of you extant in each character. Ordinary humanity has never been portrayed in such an encouraging way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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