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Publisher's Summary

Until I Find You is the story of the actor Jack Burns, his life, loves, celebrity, and astonishing search for the truth about his parents.

When he is four years old, Jack travels with his mother Alice, a tattoo artist, to several North Sea ports in search of his father, William Burns. From Copenhagen to Amsterdam, William, a brilliant church organist and profligate womanizer, is always a step ahead, has always just departed in a wave of scandal, with a new tattoo somewhere on his body from a local master or "scratcher".

Alice and Jack abandon their quest, and Jack is educated at schools in Canada and New England, including, tellingly, a girls' school in Toronto. His real education consists of his relationships with older women, from Emma Oastler, who initiates him into erotic life, to the girls of St. Hilda's, with whom he first appears on stage, to the abusive Mrs. Machado, whom he first meets when sent to learn wrestling at a local gym.

A melancholy tale of deception, Until I Find You is also a swaggering comic novel, a giant tapestry of life's hopes. It is a masterpiece to compare with John Irving's great novels, and restates the author's claim to be considered the most glorious, comic, moving novelist at work today.

©2005 John Irving; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“As ever, Irving is at his best with the family relationships he creates. They are simultaneously touching and infuriating. It is with these relationships that Irving firmly grasps universal truths and puts a chokehold on his readers…. Irving’s descriptions are distressing to read, but they force the reader to relate to the characters in a way they would not in most works of fiction.” (Calgary Herald)
Until I Find You . . . cuts closer to the bone than any of [Irving’s] previous works.” (Ottawa Citizen)
“Bittersweet . . . moving.” (People)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall

Great story, annoyingly read

If you like John Irving, you'll enjoy this book. It is a very complex and long story (32 hours!) with lots of interesting characters and unexpected turns. The plot was captivating albeit a little disturbing at times (the child abuse story line is not for the faint of heart). The only thing I really didn't like was the narrator: his multiple accents were at the best annoying, in some places downright ridiculous or wrong - his German pronounciation was actually painful for a first-language German like me. He should have asked somebody to guide him who knows the language.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting but Disappointing

I'm a real John Irving fan, and my absoute favorite book is A Widow for One Year. I had high hopes for this book, and was eager to get started on it. Unfortunately, it was a big disappointment, especially when compared to A Widow for One Year. The opening chapters are too long, and I got bored with the descriptions of the main character's travels. The story becomes interesting - and very disturbing - when the young boy experiences sexual abuse at the hands of adult women. But as the story progesses this becomes utterly absurd and unbelievable. At some point I realized I no longer felt sympathy for the young boy who seems as perverted and freakish as the women he is abused by. I also found the ending unconvincing. If you haven't read A Widow for One Year, download that one instead of this one!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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A Favorite for a Lifetime...

To start with, Arthur Morey' s narration was spot on! I will look for more of his work after this. I am a huge John Irving fan. I love his honesty and candor. He has a very gritty, raw way of storytelling. My mother first read this book and recommended it to me saying that his exploration of the history of tattoo art fascinated her. It fascinated me too but, that and so much more. This was a refreshing departure for John Irving. His lead character, Jack, spends a lifetime traveling Canada, the United States, Europe and the Netherlands in search of more than he realizes throughout his journey. The writing allows the reader or listener to travel with him and in his search, we explore our own journeys. It is honest, brash, compelling story telling - one of Irving' s finest.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Save Your Credits

I chose this book because I've enjoyed every other John Irving book I've tried, and was eager to fall into another. I really, really, REALLY wish I'd saved my credits. This book is terrible. It's boring, repetitive, and pretty much the only thing in it that isn't done better many times over in his other work is the way that almost every woman becomes sexually obsessed with the protagonist. If the character were an adult throughout, I'd write that off as author wish fulfillment, but it's kind of sick when the character is a small child. I'm a porn-positive person, but this isn't even pornographic - it's just tasteless and bad. I'm now about halfway through the second installment (of four), and am engaged in an endurance test to see if I can make myself finish it. This is every minor flaw found in Irving's work magnified a thousandfold, without any of the charm or warmth that makes his other work so worthwhile. Save your credits, save your time, I wish I had done the same.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sooooo close to a 5

Rich, accurate character development in a great story. Loved the ending. A little more tragedy would have made this a 5.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Don't bother

I am a John Irving fan. However, but like many writers, the themes from his first hits continue to resurface in following books, i.e., young man w/ bizarre childhood, wierd sexual experiences, wrestling, East coast prep-school....This book is WAY TOO LONG at 32 hours. I should have stopped about 28 hours ago :).

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Not my favourite John Irving novel

A long meandering tale that comes together beautifully, it just takes a long time to get there. Unlike most of John Irving's works there are many unrefined characters in this novel. I liked it, but there are other works if his that I've enjoyed so much more, it was still worth the time though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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John Irving, please stop

Any additional comments?

I was once a great fan of John Irving. No more. I listened to this ridiculous tome for as long as I could, and then gave up. It's one thing to write about quirky, unusual characters. It's quite another to have them doing, saying and thinking things that just aren't possible within the confines of the character as written.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Serendipity

I have been on a John Irving kick recently, appreciative of his unsparing descriptions of our hidden emotions. I started listening to the book not knowing that the organ and the mind of a musician would figure so prominently. You see, I am an organist. Apart from that, this was a huge story and had some remarkable twists and turns. Scandinavia was beautifully represented as well.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Didn't like the narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of Until I Find You to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the printed version

What was one of the most memorable moments of Until I Find You?

When Jack went back to learn about his mother and father.

What didn’t you like about Arthur Morey’s performance?

I did not like his voice, the way he changed his voice for different characters, it was subtle but lacking. His use or non use of inflection. I kept saying in my head, if he has said it "this" way it would have made such a difference in meaning. I especially did not like the voice he used for Emma, and the voice he used for the young Jack. He had really bad accents.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no 35 hours is a long time to listen in one setting