Last Night in Twisted River

John Irving

Last Night in Twisted River

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County - to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto - pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving's twelfth novel - depicts the recent half-century in the United States as 'a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course'. 3.9 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
Last Night in Twisted River

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 576
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication October 2009
ISBN 978-1408801840
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County - to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto - pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving's twelfth novel - depicts the recent half-century in the United States as 'a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course'.

Reviews

The Los Angeles Times

Daniel Mallory

Not since the shambolic but cruelly underrated "A Son of the Circus" has he delivered a novel so full-throated, hot-blooded and clear-eyed; not since "A Widow for One Year" has he sculpted a story with such poise; not since Garp has he so trenchantly assessed the writer's craft. Majestic yet intimate, shot with whimsy, dread and molten pathos, "Twisted River" compresses the panoramic scope of his midcareer legacy without diluting its brio. This isn't a comeback so much as a coming-of-age

25/10/2009

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The Financial Times

Irvine Welsh

Last Night in Twisted River is a novel of excellence. This big-hearted, brilliantly written and superbly realised inter-generational tale of a father and son on the lam, and their flawed protector, stands comparison with the very best of Irving’s previous work. It is absolutely unmissable.

19/10/2009

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The Guardian

Giles Foden

Last Night in Twisted River can be taken as a prophetic text of America's immanent post-imperial status... It marks a sea-change in America's idea of itself as somehow special.

24/10/2009

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The New Statesman

Nina Caplan

This is Irving's 12th novel and, as ever, the surface shines like midwinter ice in his beloved New Hampshire, but the emotions roiling beneath stay largely hidden. Five children die in this book, yet we never really enter the stricken parents' pain. This absence of empathy in the face of lethal violence is morally problematic; it is also the saddest element of a book that can be read as a tale of never-ending harm.

15/10/2009

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The Times

Helen Rumbelow

Danny, the author, comments aside, that “in a novel with a reasonable amount of forethought, there are no coincidences”. This is true, but it is also somewhat deadening, as a reader, to be told so. Half of Irving strains give us a thumping good, old-fashioned, moralistic read, and this is where his true talents lie. Unfortunately, the other half cannot bear the earnestness of it all... Of course, I enjoyed much of Last Night in Twisted River; it is Irving, after all.

16/10/2009

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The Sunday Times

Stephen Amidon

Although it never quite achieves the narrative frenzy that made Irving famous in The World According to Garp, his fans will not be disappointed, especially when stacking the book against its anaemic competition... Last Night in Twisted River is at its best in its depiction of the long, meandering course a life can take.

18/10/2009

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The Literary Review

Toby Lichtig

This is a big novel, and also a baggy one, the themes and episodes tumbling haphazard, much like the flow of river timber freed from a logjam... The postmodernism seems tired, and at its worst the folksy prose reads like a grotesquely extended Jack Daniels advertisement. Last Night in Twisted River could sensibly be turned into an excellent film; but as a novel it too often flounders.

01/10/2009

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Times Literary Supplement

Stephen Abell

Sad to say, Last Night in Twisted River is not Irving at his best... it is long, but not much seems to happen; it talks a lot about writing, but has no theory about the creative act; it has a silly basis for a plot, but is not funny or quirky enough elsewhere. Worst of all, it lacks "sentimentality" (the cardinal virtue Irving took from Dickens), the ability to create "emotional interest" in the often strange lives of his characters. In the end, the reader may recognize too easily the conversion of author to carpenter: this is a novel of workmanlike solidity, and of wooden prose.

23/10/2009

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