I should preface this post by stating that I’m a huge John Irving fan. If it takes place in New England and/or Austria and involves any combination of these elements; a bear, wrestling, prep schools, and death or dismemberment, I am hooked. There’s something about how Irving brings these topics together (in seemingly every book he’s written) that brings me back for more every time. So, when Irving’s 16th book came out late last year, I was one of the first on the wait list.
Last Night in Twisted River is the story of a father and son living in Twisted River, a logging town in Northern Massachusetts. When a tragic accident forces Dominic and young Danny to leave the town and their lives behind, a circuitous whirlwind of a story begins with multiple last name and location changes; the novel chases the two throughout the country (and finally into Canada) as they attempt to avoid their pasts catching up with them.
Danny grows up quickly after leaving Twisted River, and begins writing semi-autobiographical stories from an early age. As an adult, his successful writing career allows Danny (or, at this point, Daniel) to support his own son (whose mother has left them) as well as his father.
The book spans the course of 51 years and follows the arc of Danny’s life. Although rambling and somewhat long-winded at times, Last Night in Twisted River is a great glimpse of very Irving-esque writing. While perhaps not his best (I prefer Irving’s earlier works, and A Prayer for Owen Meany is my all-time favorite), this is a good read if you enjoy his style.
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