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New Release: Last Night in Twisted River

51DJPp5cyWL._SL160_By John Irving
Random House | 576pgs
Release Date: October 27, 2009

John Irving’s latest novel opens in a small logging camp near the Twisted River in 1954. The status quo of Dominic Baciagalupo’s life as the camp cook is violently shaken when his 12 year old son, Danny, mistakes the Constable’s girlfriend for a bear and kills her. Father and son are forced to flee the New Hampshire camp, followed relentlessly by the obsessed Constable Carl. Last Night in Twisted River spans 50 years and traces Dominic and Danny’s movement from state to state, in an effort to escape Carl and thwart his vengeance. The only connection to their old life is Dominic’s best friend Ketchum, a gruff logger with a warm heart. Over the decades Dominic works a series of restaurant jobs as Danny develops his writing talent and becomes a bestselling author under the pen name Danny Angel. The narration of this novel has been described as chaotic, jumping forward and backward in time with little transition, but at its core, is a touching story about the love between a father and son.

Irving first topped the best sellers list over three decades ago with The World According to Garp. In the years following, he’s won numerous accolades and awards, including an Academy Award for the screenplay adaptation of his book The Cider House Rules. Some early critic’s reviews for “Last Night in Twisted River” have been mixed, with The New York Time’s Michiko Kakutani listing “cartoony characters” and “absurd contrivances” as part of the book’s flaws. Other critics have noted that some scenes in the new book seem to be re-hashes of scenes from Irving’s earlier works, such as The Hotel New Hampshire. Though the novel is imperfect, most critics have agreed that this is a deeply moving story that does a wonderful job of depicting the absurdity and randomness of real life.

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