John Irving, Random House, 2005
Typical John Irving, falling well within in his usual quirky spectrum of too-wierd-for-words and brilliant. A melancholy (until the last 150 pages or so) story about a young man, his missing-in-action father (a tattooed organist), and his mom (a tattoo artist and a … no, wait, that would give away too much). The main character feels very much like Owen Meany to me, although this book didn’t have that same feeling of building toward Owen Meany’s climactic ending. His story has three distinct parts, each of which has a distinct feeling: quirky initially, drifting and kind of an aimless sadness, and ending on a high note of hilarity and closure. To be honest, I struggled to make it through the later portion of that central part; the first half of the story, on the other hand, flew by, and the last 150 pages were a treat and went very quickly.
If you liked “A Prayer for Owen Meany” and/or “A Widow for One Year”, you will probably would enjoy this one, too (although I would place this book a notch below each of those two, which I consider to be his best so far).