I've been shopping the sales again and managed to find three titles that might be enjoyable. I think I'll save James Herriott for last because the other two might be a bit depressing.
I feel a little bad for finishing this book so quickly, as John Irving spends years writing his books — in longhand, no less! — and a lot of work goes into constructing his stories, but I could not put this down. Never before I have been that enamored so soon when reading an Irving novel; typically, it takes a chapter or two until I warm up to the world he is building. Not so with The Hotel New Hampshire. I was charmed from the start.
One’s enjoyment of this novel will likely hinge on his or her threshold for ‘triggering’ subjects. Incest is arguably the heart of this book; Irving handles the topic with love and care, but I know the subject is an unpleasant one for many readers — and the author does not shy away from it; Irving handles it with his typical deftness. He wants to throttle his reader, to push him or her out of the comfort zone . . . and he accomplishes that.
On display is the typical Irving-isms: bears, New England private schools, Vienna, prostitution, sexual awakenings, sexual experimentation, shocking deaths, wacky situations. It’s John Irving; he certainly is not for everyone, but for his fans, in this hotel can be found familiar pleasures.
I love John Irving as an author. This is only my third novel of his, but he is a magical writer. His books are very character driven, and are what I can only describe as a slow burn. The plots of his novels are not really page turners in the traditional sense, but slowly tell the story of his unique characters. In many ways, this book describes how Irving writes a novel through the story of the main character who is a writer. I would have given this five stars, but I thought there were a few parts that dragged a bit, and I did not love the ending. Great read though and looking forward to another Irving novel.