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.
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“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)
English major. Love to read
This is honestly the best book in the world. I have read it two times already, but listening to it brought out even more. The voice of Owen is not easy, I would imagine, and the narrator did a great job. Irving is a master with this novel.
Attorney - love to listen to audio books
This is one of the best books I have ever listened to. I have not read the book, but I think it has to be better as a Audible - especially because of the reader, Joe Barrett. I simply did not want it to end. I am 62 years old and this book fits in perfectly with my timeline. Even if it does not fit your timeline, the story is still very interesting, the plot is extraordinary and the characters are remarkable. This is one of the best audible selections I have ever made. The story haunted me for many days after I finished listening to A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is certainly a book that you should not miss.
It takes a really good story and a strong narrator to get a 5 out of me, but I'm putting a 5 on this book. I purchased it based on the strength of its reviews, as I was not familiar with the author. Now I will be looking for more by this very talented writer.
I loved this book. I haven't read a book by John Irving that wasn't fantastic, but this one is my favorite. Many great books have been ruined by narrators. This is not the case for this book. Joe Barrett made this book a work of art. I hated for it to end.
I loved this book; I loved Owen; I loved Johnny and his slightly crazy family. How the pieces all fit together at the end was fabulous. This was one tough act to follow. I missed it for days once it was over!
I read this book in college and thought I would give it another listen. So glad I did. I loved it even more the second time.
You meet the main characters and at first wonder if you will like them. Owens voice is hard to get used to. Then his personality and charm gets thru even the sound of his voice and you fall in love with him. It is a long listen but that is what I like with an hour commute both ways daily. Very enjoyable.
I laughed and cried all the way thru the book. I felt I was a part of the story, there with the people in the book. Joe Barret did a wonderful narration! I would give it a six if I could.
I have been recommended this book many times over the years but could never get into it and gave up after reading the first chapter about ten times. Then I put the Audible version read by Joe Barrett on my iPod and could not put it down. It is an excellent book but it is an aural experience and the perfomance by Mr. Barrett is beyond first class!
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