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Summary

A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers.  

Anniversary edition with a new afterword from the author.  

A worldwide best seller since its publication, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, struggling writer and illegitimate son of Jenny Fields - an unlikely feminist heroine ahead of her time.  

Beautifully written, The World According to Garp is a powerfully compelling and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers of his generation. 

©2020 John Irving (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"A wonderful novel, full of energy and art, at once funny and heartbreaking...terrific." (Washington Post)

"A diamond sleeping in the dark, chipped out at last for our enrichment and delight...As approachable as it is brilliant." (Cosmopolitan)

What listeners say about The World According to Garp

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Audible version cuts 2 chapters

the book is great, but the in audible version 2 chapters are cut ( Walt catches cold and The world according to Marcus Aurelius) in the middle.

13 people found this helpful

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plot spoilers in forward

in case you dont know the story, huge plot killers in the introduction. so stars off for that.

7 people found this helpful

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Maiming is the name of the game

Irving shouldn't need any introduction: he is obviously a masterful storyteller. Like Paul Auster, he isn't exactly a stylist, but for narrative drive and human observation he can go the rounds with almost any writer (O.K., maybe not Nabokov, Bowles, Mishima or Mary Gaitskill...). Adam Sims' reading is quite simply superb: he manages to modulate every character's dialogue or interior monologue with ever-so-subtle inflections without ever being arch, self-conscious, or irritating. (Would have to go a long way to beat Jeremy's Irons' reading of 'Lolita', but that's a very high bar). Should be noted that, previously, the ending of two chapters were lopped off, but Audible reacted and have restored the full intended unabridged version.

6 people found this helpful

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Far too long

This book showed some promise at the start. Sounded like it would be reliably funny and original. May have had some originality in moderation but in it's great length got annoying, then tedious. The author had some moderate sympathy with 70s feminists but was under the misapprehension this gave him a deep insight into women and the female perspective which he clearly doesn't have. E.g. the 'Ellen James' movement in the book, which is an extreme parady on women's relationship with victimhood and is deeply annoying as it is not insightful, but merely shows the character Garp's own bias, and since his perspective seems to be never far from the writers, shows the writer's bias also.
It made have been made worse by the reader. Initially I did not mind him, but his sardonic tone soon sounded less worldly, and more fashionably cynical in a rather childish, petty way. The characters might have seemed fresher in a shorter book, but we're just clichés in this as they hardly seemed to evolve, despite the long period of their lives the book covered. All the women were headstrong and withering and the main female characters hardly varied from each other except in age. Roberta Muldoon is unfathomably loyal to the Garp males, despite the central character often treating her carelessly and insensitively. All the characters could have been investigated and understood in a deeper, more authentic, more curious way. There was too little between the writer and the main character, who we are supposed to believe is another highly talented writer. This story was too much of a writer's indulgence for this listener.

2 people found this helpful

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Loving it

I saw the film a long time ago but it never really registered. This was awesome- from the story, the subject, the performance - all on top of their game. Right up there with the Book thief. Well done all involved

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read this book

I love most of John's books this was the one I gut my teeth on as a teen-ager...I still love it

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Brilliant as Always

I'm not an academic and not a regular reader of novels. This is the 4th John Irving I have read and I loved it.

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Superb

Having read this book when younger, the beautiful characters which Irving wrote come out in this audiobook. Well read with loads of feeling and character voices.

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Classic John Irving

I read this book years ago, now revisiting on audible. absolutely loved it, even more this time. The voice performance brought nuance I had missed the first time.

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A novel that demands a response

Listened to the book in record time. An unusual but compelling read.. I've been building up to reading this book for years.. Now that I've taken the plunge a sense of having been cleaned has come over me. And a reminder of the sexual oppression and violence that millions of women still face today.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-11-21

Narrator is not suited to this book in my opinion

I have read the book and was looking forward to the Audio copy but struggled to listen to the forced tone of the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 04-06-22

Readers be aware this is a raw but compassionate look at life situations.

Wonderful we’ll written book very relevant to today’s society you really need to have an understanding than just looking at superficial life.Hopefully this will give readers a glimpse of what really goes on in the world at large