I am a John Irving fan. Young, and those with heart, those travellers around Europe that spend time out here, whether it’s Vienna, Mardrid or Berlin will have Irving as one on their reading essentials. Like an air ticket, a rail pass, spending time in the Mediterranean, Irving is a rite of passage. He his books stay long after you have departed to pastures new. Hotel New Hampshire, The Fourth Hand, The World According to Garp of which In One Person has been likened to are great reads into a different world. Of mid America, a small group of friends/ family and Europe.
So.. I knew any doubts I had about continuing with In One Person was just me rushing ahead wasn’t really a goer.
Irving starts off the novel ever the voyerist. Which he does gleefully. If he were a kid I would have thought he was trying to shock though he tells Billy, the protagonist’s life story flawlessly. He muses on Billy’s rite of passage very well. Looking back after reading I would like to know more about Billy’s life. Not a negative (!) but I knew as I kept reading I was going full circle – from not sure if I could finish it to wishing Irving would slow down.
I currently (2013) edit, write, put together a magazine whose demographic is conservative. After reading this novel I had to write it up, even for such a publication. It’s an accomplished piece of storytelling, am glad I read it. I will reread in over time. A honourable piece of storytelling for a subject which still needs everyone to be stand-up-able and perhaps be educated about. John Irving fans will love it, mostly but some not. But if you want a recommended read here’s In One Person.
In One Person: A Novel in hardcopy
I never believe book cover promo’s though they may give you an idea of the story.
Like; “His most daringly political, sexually transgressive, and moving novel in well over a decade” (Vanity Fair).
Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary Award
A New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp.
In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”
More on John Irving’s offical site.