In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious 12-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the 12-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 12th 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".
From the novel's taut opening sentence - "The young Canadian, who could not have been more than 15, had hesitated too long" - to its elegiac final chapter, Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical authenticity and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is also as violent and disturbing a story as John Irving's breakthrough best seller The World According to Garp.
What further distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author's unmistakable voice - the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller. Near the end of this moving novel, John Irving writes: "We don't always have a choice how we get to know one another. Sometimes, people fall into our lives cleanly - as if out of the sky, or as if there were a direct flight from Heaven to Earth - the same sudden way we lose people, who once seemed they would always be part of our lives."
“Absolutely unmissable . . . [A] big-hearted, brilliantly written and superbly realized intergenerational tale of a father and son.” (
“There’s plenty of evidence in Irving’s agility as a writer in Last Night in Twisted River. . . . some of the comic moments are among the most memorable that Irving has written.” ( New York Times)
“Engrossing . . . Irving’s sentences and paragraphs are assembled with the skill and attention to detail of a master craftsman creating a dazzling piece of jewelry from hundreds of tiny, bright stones.” ( Houston Chronicle)
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A Great Lumberjack and a lot of Navel Gazing