9 Memorable Characters from John Irving's Novels ...


Since John Irving's novels are among my favorites, I've got deep, serious literary-relationships with quite a few of his characters. He's not only one of my favorite authors, but also one of my biggest inspirations, partly because he creates such rich, multi-layered characters. They have flaws and quirks and sometimes they're annoying or downright unlikable – but you end up loving them anyway. His ability to weave such rich, detailed tapestries in terms of his characters and their settings makes John Irving's novels incredibly multifaceted. He knows how to tell a story and how to write it beautifully, and he knows how to create characters you somehow want to have in your life. You'll notice characters from the same books popping up in my list of favorites, but that's because a. I love the books, and 2. I'm still working my way through his extensive bibliography.

1. Owen Meany

Owen Meany

“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice...” That's how the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany begins. I've yet to come across any of John Irving's novels I don't love, although I haven't yet read some of them, but even when I finally get to Setting Free the Bears and Last Night in Twisted River, this will still be my favorite. Similarly, diminutive, miraculous Owen Meany is my favorite character. I kind of fell in love with him the first time I read the book, I won't lie. From his fiercely passionate nature, hidden beneath his size, to his loyalty to his friends, to his amazing second sight, he's just incredible to me. I don't want to spoil anything, but there's nothing about this character that doesn't make me emotional. And do me a favor – if you've only ever seen the travesty of a movie adaptation, Simon Birch, read this instead. Please.

T. S. Garp
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