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A Prayer for Owen Meany Audiobook

A Prayer for Owen Meany

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Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

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

"This moving book comes across like a concerto in this audio version, with a soloist—Owen's voice—rising from the background of an orchestral narration. This book, one of the finest of its time, gets the narration that it deserves." (AudioFile)

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (6855 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Meagan 11-15-16
    Meagan 11-15-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ridiculously long and dreadfull"
    Would you try another book from John Irving and/or Joe Barrett?

    Omg, I bought this book because the reviews are absolutely wonderful! I could barely get 3 hours into this. I mean... it's just boring, overly descriptive (which normally I like), the narrator didn't help matters. I mean I literally started thinking about other things while listening to the narrator drone on... based on the description I assumed i would love it as well. Not a winner for me.


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Irving again?

    Nope


    How could the performance have been better?

    Different narrator that's more upbeat.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Bordem


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E 11-15-16
    E 11-15-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Amazing book and narration"

    Fantastic all round. Joe Barrett did a great job of narrating this. My third time getting through this book since I was a teenager (read it twice, listened once) and it only improves with time.

    The interview with JI at the end of the book was interesting too.

    I can't recommend this book enough

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent"

    Wow. Everything about this book is fantastic. The story is gripping and touching. The narration is outstanding. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Terry 09-22-16
    Lisa Terry 09-22-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent"

    I understand now why John Irving wouldn't allow them to use the name a prayer for Owen Meany in the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 09-09-16
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 09-09-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Amen"

    While this is not my favorite from Irving ( that will always be "The Cider House Rules"), there is no denying he is a wonderful author, and the writing is just beautiful. Our regional theater is doing this on the stage, and I cannot wait to see how they accomplish that!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Genoa City, WI, United States 09-06-16
    Paula Genoa City, WI, United States 09-06-16 Member Since 2017
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    "I'm not sure how I felt about Owen Meany..."

    In the beginning, I found the characters interesting. Owen is an unusually bright boy with a very strange family and some incredible courage. Johnny Wheelwright is the narrator and Owen's best friend.

    But as the story progressed, I started thinking, "What is this all about?" "Where is this going?" And pretty soon I was wondering, "How and when is this going to end?"

    I kept plugging along. As an audio book goes, this one was incredibly well done. Audio books have the unique ability to bring characters to life through sound and inflection and drama. A good reader is able to bring you to a place where you can identify the character by the sound of their voice.

    Apparently, in the book, all of Owen Meany's dialogue is written in all caps to accentuate the "wrecked voice". The narrator, Joe Barrett, was hand-picked by the author John Irving to bring that "wrecked voice" to life.

    And it was amazing. It was alive and painful and brilliantly done.

    The thing is, the whole time I was listening to the story, I was also thinking, "What am I missing?"

    You know that feeling when you are watching a "film" not a movie? This book is "literature" not just fiction. It's sort of like, "I'm sure there is supposed to be some great meaning here. Some brilliant symbolism that I am just not getting. Am I just not cultured enough, or intelligent enough, or whatever?"

    That is how I felt while listening to Owen Meany. Owen truly believes that he is an "instrument of God" in the very literal sense. So how does that play into the mutilation of the armadillo? Or the vandalism of The Virgin Mary? Or the dressmaker's dummy? Or even the Viet Nam War?

    I just really couldn't wrap my head around all that. Johnny (the narrator of the story and Owen's friend) seems so wimpy and unsure of himself. Owen is so smart and confident and a little bit crazy.

    The author continues to call everyone by their full names - Dan Needham, Owen Meany, Johnny Wheelwright, Reverend Merrill and so on.

    One of the things I really did enjoy about this book was the lyrical writing of Mr. Irving. And the intelligent use of language that make for interesting quotes.

    Here are my top 5 takeaway quotes from A Prayer for Owen Meany.

    There are a few quotes that really stuck with me as something to remember; something to contemplate for use in my own life. My hope is that you will find meaning here, too.

    "Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!” - Owen Meany


    "When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming..." - Johnny Wheelwright


    "WATCH OUT FOR PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES RELIGIOUS; MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN––MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN!” - Owen Meany


    "And in our Scripture class, Owen said, "IT'S TRUE THAT THE DISCIPLES ARE STUPID - THEY NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT JESUS MEANS, THEY'RE A BUNCH OF BUNGLERS, THEY DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD AS MUCH AS THEY WANT TO BELIEVE, AND THEY EVEN BETRAY JESUS. THE POINT IS, GOD DOESN'T LOVE US BECAUSE WE'RE SMART OR BECAUSE WE'RE GOOD. WE'RE STUPID AND WE'RE BAD AND GOD LOVES US ANYWAY - JESUS ALREADY TOLD THE DUMB-SHIT DISCIPLES WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. "THE SON OF MAN WILL BE DELIVERED INTO THE HANDS OF MEN, AND THEY WILL KILL HIM..." REMEMBER? THAT WAS IN MARK, RIGHT?"
    "Yes, but let's not say "dumb-shit disciples" in class, Owen," Mr. Merrill said.”


    "Anyone can be sentimental about the nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don’t believe in the resurrection, you’re not a believer." “IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN EASTER,” Owen Meany said. “DON'T KID YOURSELF—DON'T CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN.”

    And my favorite...
    "IF YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO FIND A WAY OF LIFE THAT YOU LOVE, YOU HAVE TO FIND THE COURAGE TO LIFE IT." - Owen Meany

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 08-29-16
    Margaret 08-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Amazing! If you read only one book, this is it!"

    Every word of this book is a pearl. So well written and narration is awesome. You won't be disappointed - this book is worth the credit. I'm going to search for other books by this author!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Plattsburgh, NY 08-24-16
    Jim Plattsburgh, NY 08-24-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book"

    I loved it. I didn't want it to end. So many great characters that it's hard to pick a favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 08-23-16
    Michelle 08-23-16
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    "Reminds me of..."
    Any additional comments?

    I did not dislike this book it just reminded me of an old movie called "Simon Burch" same story line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ali alper 08-09-16
    ali alper 08-09-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Better than reading the book itself"

    Amazing narration, especially Owen's voice is stellar! Even if you've already read the book before, worth listening for this spectacular voice acting alone

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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