Last Night in Twisted River

Last Night in Twisted River

A Novel

Book - 2009
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In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-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 twelfth 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 fifteen, 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 bestseller, 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."
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781400063840
Characteristics: xii, 554 p. ; 25 cm.


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KCLSLibrarians Aug 28, 2014

Irving’s ability to describe seemingly unrelated details or chance meetings in detail and then later (sometimes much later) recall that detail and make it a significant part of the story is brilliant. The reader enjoys greater insight and understanding of the intricacies of human behavior and motivation as the story unfolds. The writing is rich but accessible, funny and real. No detail in a John Irving novel is irrelevant, as the writer Danny Angel in ‘Last Night in Twisted River’ says, “there are no coincidences”.

Jul 18, 2013

Great story telling; the usual great style.

timbert Apr 06, 2013

Not a great book but an easy & entertaining read if you don't object to a predictably violent ending

Heather J. Cameron
Aug 31, 2012

Terrible, just a rehash of his other books. Very bad!

Jun 09, 2012

I have enjoyed many of JI's novels, in particular Cider House Rules and Prayer for owen Meany. I enjoy his descriptions of New england landscapes and his character developments. I enjoyed his descriptions of Coos Country and the log-driving activities portrayed in the first chapters of "twisted river" but found the characters/family described here increasingly unbelievable and disturbing. I read about half of this book before i put is down without finishing it. I found it disappointing compared to other J Irving novels.

Jan 02, 2012

Good story, great characters, John Irving never disappoints...

MikeDay Jun 17, 2011

Get a grip Irving fans! I've really liked his good novels, but this is probably his worst. It reminds me of Iris Murdock's last few novels, when she was demented but still writing. She still got published because her fans would buy her books, but they were gibberish. Irving is in decline. In this book, Irving has nothing new to say about life and his prose is getting all "twisted", to say nothing of excessive meaningless descriptions of all kinds of things irrelevant to the story.

Dec 16, 2010

Quite a span of time! This is a big novel with details galore. A long story. A story of many lives. The end is a tad kitsch, but it has to end somewhere. The whole book would have had a more "real" story line if the "cook" have stayed in Twisted River after the "murder". There was no reason to leave. By leaving he was tagged "guilty" and the whole book revolved around the "when" he would be caught. The best character in the book is Ketchum. He's the one who makes the story moves. He energizes everything. But what he did in the end is, again, pushing the envelop. This is not a Japanese novel where if something goes wrong you kill yourself to save face. Lastly, what's the deal with these "big" women in the book. I mean, really, 200 - 300 pounds. Am I missing something here? This book is not his best. We're a long way from "Garp", or "Owen Meany", or "Cider House Rules". Can't wait to read his next book...

Dec 04, 2010

gave to Tom for Xmas 2010
Danny Angel, author taken from Twisted R when young after shooting bad guy's woman (Dad's lover). hero: Ketchum
Dad- Ital cook/chef. V, Good, as usual

Sep 21, 2010

I'm a third of the way through this (bought a copy at the airport). It's my first taste of Irving and I have to say, I'm enjoying it! The story is so finely woven together, the characters and settings so completely fleshed out and alive... it's more slow-paced than I'm used to, but I'm well and truly hooked.

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