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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

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  •  
    Shannon Dayton, TX, United States 05-23-13
    Shannon Dayton, TX, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie GA 03-24-11
    Marie GA 03-24-11 Member Since 2010

    Marie

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    "Spectacular"

    This was one of the best books I have ever listened to. Owen Meany has stolen my heart.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 05-22-12
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 05-22-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 04-28-12
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 04-28-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Taumarunui, New Zealand 10-28-13
    Judy Taumarunui, New Zealand 10-28-13 Member Since 2011

    Photographer's Moll, Chicken breeder, school administrator and owned by four dogs. Busy life, Happy life!

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    "My favourite book"

    What a beautiful story. Owen Meany made me laugh out loud in parts (the Nativity Play) and I cried quietly in others. I have no doubt that I will listen to this book again.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail jackson, NJ, United States 04-03-13
    Gail jackson, NJ, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "The Cliff Notes Were a Better Read"

    I think when you get to hour 11 in an audio book, and find yourself tthinking... OK, What's the point? Or, please stop describing the minutia of Church Christmas Plays, because you're not sufficiently compelled to read-on, it's time to abort. I chose this book due to the critical acclaim. I applaud the descriptive narrative. However, if there ever was a point or plot to this book, it was lost on me. Surely, the 10 hours that I "forced" myself to hang in for, could have been downsized to a couple of hours. That said, I wonder ... without having completed this book, how much the remaining 16 plus hours or so could have been condensed. The narration was terrific, but I jumped ship in favor or the cliff-notes version to discover some kind of meaning in all the babble.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 08-08-12
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 08-08-12 Member Since 2017

    I love books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany to be better than the print version?

    I considered reading this book some years ago but couldn't get into the premise of a little leaguer's foul ball killing the mother of his best friend and how it affected their lives. For some reason I was ready for it now. I know John is a great writer and this is a great book. If you grew up in the Vietnam era or are interested in a book with that in the background of two kids growing up in New Hampshire, you'll like this book. It's an intellectual, thought provoking story.


    6 of 8 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 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charmaine 06-13-11
    Charmaine 06-13-11
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    "Do not miss listening to A Prayer for Own Meany!"

    John Irving is an outstanding wordsmith and storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this very well crafted and entertaining story exceptionally narated by Joe Barrett. Very entertaining! I'm hoping Audible will make the many other books written by John Irving available soon. More Joe Barrett too please :)

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
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  • 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
  • Sarah J
    Kent.UK
    2/5/11
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    Having read the previous reviews, I was very disappointed with this audiobook. I found the story excessively long and had to force myself to finish listening to it, as I did not want to have wasted the time I had already invested in it. However, I am not sure it was worth it, and with hindsight I would have given up after a few hours. It is well written, but there does not seem to me to be enough character development or storyline to require the 27 hours of text. I read the Wikipedia entry for the book and they summarised everything that happened on one relatively short page! There is nothing terrible about the book, but there is really nothing great about it either. I could have definitely spent 27 hours more profitably!

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Khal
    Yorkshire
    8/16/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderfully crafted story"

    Captivating storyline, elegantly written prose, narrated beautifully. It doesn't feel like 26 hours in length.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrea Edan
    London
    8/3/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story from master story teller"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Prayer for Owen Meany to be better than the print version?

    The narration was superb and did contribute immensely to Owen Meany's character which, after all, was referred to as the voice.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Prayer for Owen Meany?

    As in his other books John Irving has a moment which is totally shocking and seems to change the direction of the narrative. I don't really want to add a spoiler for anyone who hasn't previously read the book but there are 2 such moments - one near the beginning of the story and one right at the end.


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

    All the characters were performed professionally by Joe Barrett. Can't say they he made any more likeable than others but he did bring the all to life.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The search for Johnny's father was very moving but there were many other moving moments. In such a good book, hard to choose.


    Any additional comments?

    Some may think it strange but I have found a lot in common between John Irving's and Haruki Murakami's books. Even though they are from very different cultures, both write multi layered stories with several story strands but are equally masters at keeping the main narrative going without losing tension. I was interested to learn, reading Murakami's book What I Talk About About when I Talk About Running that he and John Irving ran together in Central Park...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    7/25/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous"

    Stunning. The best story and narration I've heard on Audible. Had me hooked from the first to the last minute.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • barbara
    7/18/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Addictive"

    Brilliant narration of this complex but clear allegory. I am so sad to have finished it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Malwina Tritt
    7/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pure gold"

    Beautiful story, beautifully narrated. No need to say more than that. Highly recommended to everyone

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mahabibi
    7/11/17
    Overall
    "Owen Meany!"

    What is there to say about this book other than that it is way up high in 20th century literature. I read it back then and now listening to it brought back the pleasure I encountered then. The narration was excellent too. Cheers!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gerard
    6/21/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved the book and little Owen more."

    I was just caught hook, line and sinker by this book. John Irving has just done an incredible job with this, super fine detail, funny, emotional & inspiring.

    I couldn't help but love Owen and it makes you wish that you had a pal like him too.

    Well done the narrator too - such great job, with so many words and voices to get through, especially Owen.

    Give it a listen - great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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