A Hindi film star an American missionary twins separated at birth a dwarf chauffeur a serial killer all are on a collision course In the tradition of A Prayer for Owen Meany, Irving s characters transcend nationality They are misfits coming from everywhere, belonging nowhere Set almost entirely in India, this is John Irving s most ambitious novel and a major publishing event


10 thoughts on “A Son of the Circus

  1. Algernon (Darth Anyan) Algernon (Darth Anyan) says:

    The son of the circus from the title is Doctor Farokh Daruwalla, a somewhat surprising choice as main character that has to carry on his shoulders such a hefty narrative At first glance he is a placid little man, of a rather short stature and rotund girth, neat and fussy but in general shy and insecure As I followed his interior monologues for page after page I have come to compare him to a still pond that hides great depths beneath the calm surfaceas a Parsi and a Christian, a Bombayite an The son of the circus from the title is Doctor Farokh Daruwalla, a somewhat surprising choice as main character that has to carry on his shoulders such a hefty narrative At first glance he is a placid little man, of a rather short stature and rotund girth, neat and fussy but in general shy and insecure As I followed his interior monologues for page after page I have come to compare him to a still pond that hides great depths beneath the calm surfaceas a Parsi and a Christian, a Bombayite and a Torontonian, an orthopedic surgeon and a dwarf blood collector, Dr Daruwalla could never have been satisfied by just one club The choice of focus on this confused, conflicted personage was intentional on the part of the author, who probably has little use for clear cut, opinionated, inflexible heroes And Dr Daruwalla is a true hero of the ordinary kind I m thinking Ikiru , trying to do good even when he is not sure of the right path doing unpaid work in children hospitals, researching a cure for genetical dwarfism, rescuing street urchins, raising other people s abandoned offspring, being a good husband and father, volunteering to help the terminally ill His insecuritites and his unquenchable curiosity are in fact the motors that constantly push him forward, together with a rampant imagination and ingrained sense of justiceThe doctor was nothe incarnation of a god than he was a writer he was, like most men, principally a dreamer Bored by the routine of a successful professional and family life, he seeks to discharge his creative energies through writing,specifically Bollywood film scripts His shyness and self deprecation will make him act from the shadows, renouncing the limelight for the quiet satisfaction of the secret observer of human folly The results areoften than not absolutely hilarious, and I would rate A Son of the Circus as one of the best comedies I ve read this year For sure, the humor is often bitter and sarcastic, aimed equally at the outside world and at his own personFarrokh had conceived Inspector Dhar in the spirit of satire of quality satire Why were there so many easily offended people Why had they reacted to Inspector Dhar so humorlessly Had they no appreciation for comedy Only now, when he was almost 60, did it occur to Farrokh that he was his father s son in this respect he d uncovered a natural talent for pissing people off or,Except when eating, Farrokh embraced procrastination as one greets an unexpected virtue Inspector Dhar is the doctor s most famous creation, a tough Bombay policeman moulded as the exact opposite of the creator s personality athletic and quick witted, a smooth operator when it comes to the ladies and an acerbic critic of the sins of his peers He is played in the movies by a friend of the doctor, John D., a younger man whose backstory and present tribulations are linked intimately to the main plot.The main plot is structured similarly to one of the doctor scripts a grotesque murder in the opening chapter, a chase after a serial killer targetting prostitutes in the Bombay red lights district, a pair of twins separated at birth, a wily police inspector and his emotionally unstable wife, beggars, dwarves, overbearing butlers, a 20 years old unsolved case, and so on The relation between the plot and the movie scripts is also deliberate, illustrating the tendency of Dr Daruwalla to retreat into his imaginary world in times of stress, where he uses the godlike powers of auhtorship in order to reshape events into apalatable version of reality, one that makes sense and where lessons can be learned, and happy endings are still a possibilityDamn other people s messes Dr Daruwalla was muttering aloud He was a surgeon as such, he was an extremely neat and tidy man The sheer sloppiness of human relationships appalled him, especially those relationships to which he felt he d brought a special responsibility and care Brother sister, brother brother, child parent, parent child What was the matter with human beings, that they made such a shambles out of these basic relationships As a character study, the novel succeeds spectacularly in presenting not only the many facets of Dr Daruwalla, but of all the numerous players gravitating around his stocky frame The narrative jumps effortlessly to these other points of view, only to return to the anchor point of Farokh The actual timeline of the events cover less than two weeks of the doctor s visit to Bombay, helping to give the story a sense of unity and simmetry, but the pacing is leisurely with lengthy flashbacks within flashbacks going back decades to Farokh s early childhood fascination with the circus, his studies and courtship in Austria, a first contact with an American film crew in Bombay, his medical career in Toronto, his periodical returns to India, his success as a scriptwriter The wealth of details is often overwhelming Irving is aware of the fact, and turns it into a self referencing jokeThe missionary wasn t a minimalist he favored description, but my patience was rewarded when all the trivia turned out to have a role to play in the script after allNo one who s still trying to find himself at thirty nine is very reliableexclaims Dr Daruwalla at one point in the story, apparently unaware that he himself is still searching for his identity at the age of 60 His search leads him to religion, to scientific studies, to the already mentioned literary career Most of all his questions relate to his cultural and spiritual heritageIn Toronto, Farrokh was an unassimilated Canadian and an Indian who avoided the Indian community In Bombay, the doctor was constantly confronted with how little he knew India and how unlike an Indian he thought himself to be At this level, the books scans as an overlong study of alienation, with Farrokh reiterating a favorite phrase of his father An immigrant remains an immigrant all his life Rejected by extremists in his adopted land, viewed with suspicion in India because of his Western mannerisms and sensibilities, his plight will find resonance in readers like me, who are bilingual and immersed in a foreign culture or two on a daily basis, finding few chances to relate and discuss it with my immediate friends and family The theme of alienation is not limited to Farrokh Daruwalla, it touches every secondary character in one form or another, be they a Jesuit missionary, a redneck girl on the run, a transexual boy girl with long held grudges, an actor with a double life, a butler who feels superior to his patrons, or a dwarf who can no longer perform in the circusIn our hearts, there must abide some pity for those people who have always felt themselves to be separate from even their most familiar surroundings, those people who either are foreigners or who suffer a singular point of view that makes them feel as if they re foreigners even in their native lands Dr Daruwalla seeks refuge in familiar places his exclusivist and rigidly traditional club, his religious epiphany, the love for his wife, literature As with his scriptwriting, the results are hilarious, especially the story of his conversion to Catholicism or the discovery of the beneficial effects of purple prose during a second honeymoon Note to self check out James Salter A Sport and a Pastime Other literary references deal with religious identity, mostly in the books of Graham Greene, quoted repeatedly in the text and in the polemic between the doctor and the missionary.I m not an expert on the work of John Irving, beside Cider House Rules, but it appears social issues and a general quality of mercy towards his characters are a constant feature of his novels Intransigence, homosexuality, the exploitation of children, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, religious fervor are among the hot button issues touched upon in the text The intensity of emotions and the subtlety of the observations make me recommend the book wholeheartedly, but my own struggles with the text I spent two months on it instead of the usual 7 10 days stop me short of a full endorsement I experienced a lack of urgency, a self indulgent streak for getting lost in minute details and painful moral considerations that illustrate well the personality of Farrokh, but stopped me from readingthan a few pages at a time.On another personal note, a comparison to my other sprawling Indian saga I ve read this year The Midnight Children is inevitable Salman Rushdie and John Irving have little in common stylistically and the personalities of the main protagonists could not bedivergent one a riotous, volcanic extrovert, subversive and irreverent in language and deed, the other a laidback, introspective, meticulous and detached observer yet I found both accounts true to human nature with their differencesimportant than their similarities in revealing an Indian culture too big and too wild to fit into a rigid framework.I would like to close with some praises for the author s use of metaphor and catchphrases oneliners reiterated like a song refrain, many dealing with the circus world, even if the actual story only visits the circus in a short episode For Farrokh Daruwalla though, the circus comes to represent the whole meaning of life, from the childhood exuberance of miracles possible, to the ever present danger falling into the net and constant struggle for survival, and ultimately to the revelation of the whole grotesque absurdity of reality Since the show must go on, all we can ultimately do is relax and enjoy the ride edit 2016 spelling


  2. Gail Gail says:

    My favorite Irving book I have a love hate relationship with Irving s work Son is a madhouse of a novel, even for Irving The plot s are dizzyingly complicated the characters as bizarre as always, but somehow believable I loved the feeling for India in the book and the humor oh my The scene in the cab made me laugh until I cried, thus waking up my husband, as I was reading in bed If you can tolerate really, really weird situations, don t mind some mild but off the wall sexual referenc My favorite Irving book I have a love hate relationship with Irving s work Son is a madhouse of a novel, even for Irving The plot s are dizzyingly complicated the characters as bizarre as always, but somehow believable I loved the feeling for India in the book and the humor oh my The scene in the cab made me laugh until I cried, thus waking up my husband, as I was reading in bed If you can tolerate really, really weird situations, don t mind some mild but off the wall sexual references, and just want to read something completely different, this is a book for you


  3. Edward Lorn Edward Lorn says:

    This is the 8th book in my John Irving Challenge I only have five books left As I said in my review of the previous book, A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving was not the best choice for a year long chronological study of an author s growth and decline His books and characters are far too similar I do not suggest recreating this project with this author On with the review.By Goodreads standards, two stars equals okay I wish there was something between okay and I hated it , because tha This is the 8th book in my John Irving Challenge I only have five books left As I said in my review of the previous book, A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving was not the best choice for a year long chronological study of an author s growth and decline His books and characters are far too similar I do not suggest recreating this project with this author On with the review.By Goodreads standards, two stars equals okay I wish there was something between okay and I hated it , because that s where I m at with this book I didn t hate the book, but it s also far from okay For the most part, A Son of the Circus is a disjointed, rambling, meandering mess of a novel Part of the problem here is the omniscient narration To have been written by such an accomplished, award winning author, the book is amateur hour Examples of good omniscient narration would be parts of Stephen King s It and all of Frank Herbert s Dune Those two books read naturally, whereas this one reads like a clunky nightmare I had to reread whole sub chapters because I didn t know what had happened to who, and or I d fallen asleep mid sentence Which brings me to the fact that this book is boring as fuck This is compounded by the fact that whole sections of it go absolutely nowhere, with little to no emotional payoff The serial killer plot It fizzles out The circus performers lives go nowhere We re asked to care about people in the final chapter who we never truly know Madhu was important Since when We knew very little about her, other than her being a child prostitute Ganesh He was offscreen forever and then the end comes and you expect me to feel something I felt bad for Vinod in the end, but everyone else was just well, they were just there Not even Martin and John D had satisfying endings Simply put, this didn t feel like a John Irving novel, aside from Martin Mills being the reincarnation of Owen Meany Seriously Same character, less CAPSLOCK That being said, the final subchapter with Daruwalla was terrific It was touching and heartfelt and poignant, and it made me wonder what happened to the last 670 pages It didn t feel like the same book And that gives me a theory I believe so many Irving fans myself included are enad with this book because of the way he ended it You can hate entire chapters, even hundreds of pages at a time, but then you get to the end and he sticks the landing This gives you a false sense that the book, as a whole, was far better than it actually was The problem with my theory is, it s glaringly obvious how terrible the rest of the book is It s just not any fun to read And then I m given a gorgeous closing chapter, and I sit back and say, Man, what the fuck was that Did the same author write the rest of the book Sure as shit doesn t feel like it So, if I m pressed, I give the majority of the book one star Even though there are numerous quote worthy lines, the style and meandering narration kill all enjoyment But I can t give it a one star because of that final subchapter Thus I m giving it two stars Overall, it was just okay Still, I wouldn t recommend it.Finally, where s all the circus shit I was promised There s very little in here Maybe 100 pages of 680 pages have anything remotely circus related How the fuck you gonna title a book A SON OF THE CIRCUS and give a reader so little circus time That s fucked up, man.In summation I tried reading this with two other friends who I ve rarely seen quit books One of them buys Ruth Ware novels even though he s never read a Ruth Ware novel he s liked If that ain t a dedication to finishing something, man, I don t know what is Both of them quit this book before page 400 Mostly because of the reasons I stated in this review I only hung around because of this challenge I m doing Had I picked this up on a whim, I d have tossed it in a fire by page 200 Which would ve been sad, because then I d never have read that final subchapter, and that final subchapter damn near made the entire book worth the read Crazy.Final Judgment Irving s worst novel for now


  4. Matt Matt says:

    Returning for a second novel by John Irving, I was transported to India, where the culture shock was massive and the storytelling proved to be quite non linear All that being said, with patience and perseverance, I made it through this unique piece of writing and even feel that I enjoyed it The circus is preparing for its next performance and, as always, there is something going on that is of interest In India, the use of Achondroplastic dwarfs is quite common in the circus, allowing for some Returning for a second novel by John Irving, I was transported to India, where the culture shock was massive and the storytelling proved to be quite non linear All that being said, with patience and perseverance, I made it through this unique piece of writing and even feel that I enjoyed it The circus is preparing for its next performance and, as always, there is something going on that is of interest In India, the use of Achondroplastic dwarfs is quite common in the circus, allowing for some of the tricks to seem evendeath defying However, it is not that which interests Dr Farrokh Daruwalla Instead, he prefers to locate a gene that might identify this dwarfism, trying to do so every time he returns home to Toronto That Dr Daruwalla is an orthopaedic surgeon seems of little concern to him or anyone else, though his medical specialty is also relevant at times As Dr Daruwalla is unable to locate a dwarf genetic marker, he is back forblood testing, in hopes of being lucky this one time While dining with a friend at the private club, Dr Daruwalla is alerted to a murder on the golf course, where someone has been struck by a club Unable to decipher what has gone on, Dr Daruwalla uses some of his intuition to deduce what could have happened Little known to anyone, Dr Daruwalla is the author of a series of screenplays about an Inspector Dhar, one of India s most renowned film stars This is truly the central premise of the book finding out who murdered the club member on the ninth green but there is so much backstory to decipher about a handful of characters and how their interactions over the span of forty years has led to this point Irving weaves many highly intricate storylines together, most in India, to tell of how the elder Dr Daruwalla taught his son, Farrokh, some of the ins and outs of orthopaedics and what a chance filming of a horrible movie in India did for the community, as well as how it enriched the next generation of people who come to play their part in this book From child prostitutes to accepted and praised alternative lifestyles, all of these flavourings of India come together to create this massive tome that has quite the story to tell, as long as the reader is patient and attentive in equal measure Well crafted, but not for all readers, I found this to be yet another winner by John Irving Recommended for the type of reader who can handle tangential writing, as well as those who love all things Indian.I will be the first to admit that this book will not be for everyone I read this book and found myself stuck within the story, but could tell that had this been my first Irving, I likely would have pulled the plug It does not read in a linear fashion in the least, leaping from different timelines in order to fill in many of the cracks and offer backstories for the characters Irving has so many characters that I chose not to hone in on one to be labelled protagonist Rather, he fills the chapters with a wonderfully complex and non linear story that hastangents than a high school math class It is by focussing on these stories as central building blocks to the larger narrative that the reader can see how things piece themselves together I found myself able to devour large chunks of the story at once, if only to better comprehend how things fit together Irving s style of detailed discussions will surely cause some readers to feel drowned while others will relish the experience With long chapters that are broken into small vignettes, the reader can digest Irving s massive undertaking inmanageable bites With a unique story and many strong characters, this piece by John Irving is not to be missed by those who have the patience and fortitude.Kudos, Mr Irving, for this wonderful piece that challenged me from the start and throughout This book serves to fulfil the March 2020 requirement of the Mind the Bookshelf Gap reading group.Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge


  5. Tali Tali says:

    I read this book by accident and discovered how rich a a story can be.


  6. Adam Adam says:

    I bought my battered, brown paged copy of A Son of the Circus second hand at Blossoms Book House in Church Street, Bangalore A previous owner had left an old used Bangladesh Biman airways boarding pass inside it I used this souvenir of a journey, completed long ago, as a bookmark By the time I finished this long book, this fragile strip of paper was a mere shadow of its former self The book begins with some pages of Author s Notes These start with the words This novel isn t about In I bought my battered, brown paged copy of A Son of the Circus second hand at Blossoms Book House in Church Street, Bangalore A previous owner had left an old used Bangladesh Biman airways boarding pass inside it I used this souvenir of a journey, completed long ago, as a bookmark By the time I finished this long book, this fragile strip of paper was a mere shadow of its former self The book begins with some pages of Author s Notes These start with the words This novel isn t about India I don t know India I was there once, for less than a monthI strongly disagree with this Irving may have only been in India for a short time, but he has certainly managed to write a beautifully detailed account of the parts of the country that feature in this lengthy novel His eye for detail is amazing, as is his ability to fondly and sympathetically characterise the Indians who appear in the story On page 635 of my copy published by Corgi in 1995 , I readI m going to tell you a little story about my mother, said Martin Mills Somehow, Dr Daruwalla knew that the story wouldn t be little The missionary wasn t a minimalist he favoured description In fact, Martin left out no detailThis brief extract summarises Irving s writing perfectly, and accounts for the great length of this novel.Page after page, the author keeps on introducing new characters bits of information and frequently goes off at a tangent with seemingly irrelevant sidetracking I found this a little disturbing at first, but soon realised that almost everything that Irving introduces eventually helps to drive the plot later on So, if you feel that you are not sure where the book is heading when you have read about 300 pages, don t despair I will not attempt to summarise the complicated plot, which is at least as complex as, and often evenenjoyable, than that of a long Bollywood film The only thing that this novel lacks is the song and dance scenes that make Bollywood movies so much fun to watch Needless to say, Dr Daruwalla, a Parsee physician, who resides most of the year in Toronto with Julia his Austrian wife, is the hero of this epic tale Not only does he cure cripples and perform medical research during his regular visits to Bombay, but he also writes risqu film scripts for Bollywood films His prot g , Inspector Dhar, is the hero of these films Martin Mills, mentioned above, is Dhar s identical twin Trouble begins when Martin, a fanatical Jesuit, arrives in Bombay to take up missionary work But Daruwalla is already facing difficulties on account of his films having upset a large number of people including Rahul, a malevolent transvestite who has recently married Mr Dogar, a fellow member of the Duckworth Club which may be an alias for one of Bombay s leading clubs such as the Willingdon Club If you want to know , then get started on the oddly compelling A Son of The Circus Although it has taken me ages to finish this book and the gold writing on its attractive green cover has worn away during many hours of holding it, this is an exciting book, an adventure, or maybe even a thriller, set in India I recommend it highly I intend reading other books by Irving, but first let me tackle something briefer


  7. Cody | CodysBookshelf Cody | CodysBookshelf says:

    DNF Page 355 Yep, I m giving up after investing so much time into this shaggy dog of a novel I wanted to like it, really Irving is one of my favorite authors and reading his stuff is always an unique experience But this thing is ALL over the place it doesn t know what it wants to be, or why I can t keep up with the ever expanding cast of characters nor can I find a reason to care about them I don t know where the hell this thing is going, and I m only halfway done I just cannot keep go DNF Page 355 Yep, I m giving up after investing so much time into this shaggy dog of a novel I wanted to like it, really Irving is one of my favorite authors and reading his stuff is always an unique experience But this thing is ALL over the place it doesn t know what it wants to be, or why I can t keep up with the ever expanding cast of characters nor can I find a reason to care about them I don t know where the hell this thing is going, and I m only halfway done I just cannot keep going.Still, Irving s prose is impeccable in places and I did like a couple of the characters hence my 2 stars Maybe I will finish this one day I buddy read this with my friend Edward We will be tackling A Widow for a Year next


  8. Thomas Strömquist Thomas Strömquist says:

    My favorite John Irving I m having a bit of hard time to single out what makes this one a notch above the rest and above a huge number of others , but I m certain that the intriguing setting of India and this time perfect blend of joy of telling a story and strange but likeable characters are keys to the whole.


  9. Lisa Strube-Kilgore Lisa Strube-Kilgore says:

    I ve always been a John Irving fan, but this one took me by surprise It has a very slow start I found myself struggling to get into it, thinking, Why on earth would I care about an Indian circus and an Orthopedist s quest for dwarf blood And yeah it s exactly as weird as it sounds, at least at first I almost gave it up Suddenly, though, after I pushed through the first two chapters, the dozens of characters started to gain their own identities, and all of a sudden,bang , I was i I ve always been a John Irving fan, but this one took me by surprise It has a very slow start I found myself struggling to get into it, thinking, Why on earth would I care about an Indian circus and an Orthopedist s quest for dwarf blood And yeah it s exactly as weird as it sounds, at least at first I almost gave it up Suddenly, though, after I pushed through the first two chapters, the dozens of characters started to gain their own identities, and all of a sudden,bang , I was in an Irving novel This book, surprisingly at least to me , had the almost certainly unintended and definitely unanticipated effect of making me want to learnabout India Which is weird, since, as the book makes clear time and time again, it s not really about India It s part detective mystery, part rumination on global racial relations, part unapologetic schmaltz, funny as hell and surprisingly heartbreaking it has a sneaky habit, likethan one of Irving s books, of catching you off guard You d think I d be ready for him by now, but it seems like I never am This novel is a lot like A Prayer for Owen Meany in that its last chapters, wherein everything starts getting wrapped up, have a sense of mourning about them, at least in a general time marches on kind of sense that s sort of hard to pin down I really love this book It s kind of a slog at 682 pages, but I think I read it every single night for two weeks Highly, highly recommended


  10. Kaitlyn Kaitlyn says:

    On some level, it hurts me to write this review I first discovered Irving s books in high school and fell for them hard The obsession quieted down after a few years, but seeing his name was enough to give me nostalgia A Son of the Circus has been in my to read pile for literal years, and if I hadn t procrastinated so much, maybe I would have been kinder in this review Maybe I would have found some enjoyment in it Unfortunately, this book was an absolute slog, to say the least The actual pl On some level, it hurts me to write this review I first discovered Irving s books in high school and fell for them hard The obsession quieted down after a few years, but seeing his name was enough to give me nostalgia A Son of the Circus has been in my to read pile for literal years, and if I hadn t procrastinated so much, maybe I would have been kinder in this review Maybe I would have found some enjoyment in it Unfortunately, this book was an absolute slog, to say the least The actual plot is fairly simple the issue is that, all too often, the plot is buried in flashbacks or flashbacks within flashbacks or tangents that traverse several pages or even chapters By the time the story comes back around, it s easy to forget what has actually happened in the present timeline Sure, these flashbacks and tangents may be rich in detail Irving s eye for that sort of thing, for making environments come alive, is on full display here , but the detail overwhelms, rather than enhances the story, as you re forced to wade through pages and pages of filler to find one detail that has a modicum of relevance to the actual plot Perhaps most frustratingly of all, after over 600 pages, the plot just peters off The climax of the book passes by in the blink of an eye the event that the book has, apparently, been leading up to has such a weak payoff that you could be forgiven for thinking that you d missed a few crucial pages The plot isn t the only issue What I foundegregious, especially as I made it towards the mid point of the book and realized I still had over three hundred pages left to go, was the repetition Certain phrases and expressions are utterly overused it seemed like Dr Daruwalla cried appeared every other page, and thethat was used along with descriptors such as exclaimed or shouted , theDr Daruwalla came off as completely hysterical and overdramatic, rather than the intelligent, wise man he s supposed to be Additionally, characters are referred to by descriptors over and over again Martin Mills is referred to as the scholastic , and Dr Daruawalla is interchangeably referred to as the screenwriter or the doctor far too many times, as if Irving is afraid that we will forget what these characters do if we aren t reminded every other page On a related note, the characters are also difficult to keep track of, because in addition to their descriptors, almost all of them have at least two names, and there s no rhyme or reason as to which name they re referred to at any given time On a single page, Irving may switch between John D., Inspector Dhar, or simply Dhar, multiple times Perhaps this was supposed to be a comment on the different roles we all play in our lives, but it s done so haphazardly that it isn t very effective Also, if you re looking forward to reading this book solely for the circus element don t bother Considering the title, the circus features surprisingly little in the book, and when it is discussed, Dr Daruwalla s love of the circus doesn t come off as convincing he elevates some of the performers to almost divine figures, but I never really got a sense of why However, while all of the above certainly contributed to my low rating of this book, there s one factor that, on its own, would have convinced me to give A Son of the Circus a single star rating This book is nearly thirty years old, and I want to give Irving the benefit of the doubt, but I would also pay him all of my savings to never write about trans and or gender diverse people again Their treatment in this book is simply abhorrent They are used for shock value you re repeatedly bludgeoned with the fact that they re freakish, disgusting and worthy of mockery They re constantly reduced to nothingthan their sexual organs practices and the bizarre nature of those organs practices At one point, the term it is used in reference to one trans character, and I came very close to flicking the book out the nearest window Not to mention that the trope of having the trans character being the villain antagonist is tired and completely unnecessary Even in 1994, I imagine that it was getting old In conclusion, I m tired The last few of Irving s books that I ve read have been merely disappointing This one left a bad taste in my mouth, one that even my fond memories of The Hotel New Hampshire and A Prayer for Owen Meany can t erase To quote a line from the book which, like everything else, was overused as soon as it was introduced , it s time to slip away from reading anyof Irving s work