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Publisher's Summary

Here are the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields, a feminist leader ahead of her times. Here are the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes, even of sexual assassinations.

The World According to Garp is a novel rich with "lunacy and sorrow", yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. With more than 10 million copies in print, in more than 30 languages and in more than 40 countries, this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: "In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."

©1976, 1977, 1978 John Irving (P)1998 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A wonderful novel, full of energy and art." (The Washington Post) "Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it....Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous....Brilliant, funny, and consistently wise; a work of vast talent." (The New Republic)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Sarrie
  • Bolingbrook, IL, United States
  • 06-10-11

What is up with this narrator?

This is one of my all time favorite books. I thought it would be great to have it in audio format. However, the experience is ruined by Michael Prichard's weird, flat, boring narration. Another reviewer likened it to the ancient nature films we used to watch in school back in the 70's and I agree. This book is so funny, sweet and touching and it is a crying shame to hear someone reading it as if it were a grocery list.

38 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • Delmar, NY USA
  • 05-26-10

This book is due for a new production

Not sure what the earlier reviewer meant when they said that the narrator's dry tone was perfect for the subject matter. The style of narration reminds me of those ancient films they used to show us in biology back in high school. Ugh. Why not get Joe Barrett (Meany) or Grover Gardner (Ciderhouse) to do this book over? They were much more engaging and genuine. This book deserves that.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jill
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 10-23-10

Favorite author, disappointing narration

I have loved the other novels by John Irving that I've read, but I didn't enjoy this one as much because I really couldn't get past the monotonous narration.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CH
  • mount kisco, NY, United States
  • 07-14-08


Read this thirty years ago, but now I appreciate it so much more. One of the best I've listened to. Engaging, funny and meaningful.

Just fiished Cider House Rules also, and am headed all the way through this author.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ron
  • Sherman Oaks, CA, United States
  • 10-11-09

Bad Sound; Great Book

I love this book. I hate this audiobook. Its sound is so irritating that I gave up after an hour and went back to the paperback version to finish it. So, five stars for the book; one star for the audiobook experience. The Audible people were kind enough to give me a credit to lighten this experience.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Worst Narrator EVER

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

The story is wonderful. It's one of my favorite Irving novels. I recommend reading the novel over listing to the droning narration. Save your Audible credit for something else.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jenny Garp is my favorite character. She may not be one to gush with emotion, but she cares deeply for her son and for the well being of exploited women.

What didn’t you like about Michael Prichard’s performance?

His voice is monotone, mechanical and nearly without emotion. Why, oh why, couldn't someone have paid Dennis Boutsikaris to read this novel?

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

The text is rich and layered with many interesting characters. The narration makes me want to chuck my tablet out the window.

Any additional comments?

Who approved the casting of Michael Prichard????????

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • ziorriu
  • Spiritwood, SK, Canada
  • 08-30-10

Naration Quality

Michael Prichard speaks very clearly, and seems to pronounce German fluently. For listening in a noisy environment this may be the best kind of reading. Where nuances can be heard, I'd prefer someone from the radio drama tradition.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Patrick
  • Sun Prairie, WI, United States
  • 01-13-12

Good book, poor narration

This is a wonderful book that suffers in this audio edition due to the lazy, boring narration. This is the first audiobook that I listened to at accelerated speed because I wanted to hear the book, but found the narrator's lack of style difficult.

I have actually found that listening to this book at double and triple speed actually improves the experience. The narrators clipped speech at these speeds actually makes the amusing parts, amusing.

I can recommend this as an excellent story, but if part of the audio experience is enjoyable narration, you may want to skip this one.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Patrick
  • Danbury, CT, USA
  • 06-30-09

Best for his literary turns

John Irving's novels often feel like conglomerations of story ideas, which he practically admits to in this writing. His novels often reflect his life's experiences, through the lense of his imagination. You should expect randomness. However, this novel had the best helping of his clever literary turns of all his novels that I have read. There are many one sentence juxtipositions that can have you laughing out loud for the irony contained therein. I am looking forward to a second listening of this novel, just to enjoy them again.

An atypical but meaningful story told masterfully.

The novel is read with a dry tone that is totally appropriate to the tone of the novel. An excellent version.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Intoduction to John Irving

The last 7 or 8 minutes of this audiobook contain an author's afterword written in 1998, twenty years after the publication of The World According to Garp. Although I like John Irving's Cider House Rules even better than this novel, I see many of the same qualities in this book. Not everything told with humor is a comedy. T.S. Garp, the main character, has many of John Irving's beliefs about good fiction.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful