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If A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is your fav book, I seriously need your help

(28 Posts)
luckywinner Thu 08-Oct-09 21:27:10

I have managed to bag a spot on Radio 4's Bookclub recording with John Irving all about A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is my absolute favorite book and I think John Irving has got to be my favourite author too.

I am so excited to be going, there will only be about 30 people at the recording but I have to ask a question about the book to the great man himself and I am seriously nervous. I am convinced I am going to ask a question that really sounds stupid. Help!! I am rereading it now but I feel like I am cramming for an exam.

giddykipper Thu 08-Oct-09 21:33:51

Blimey, it's such a complex book, I know what you mean about wanting a question to sound intellectual. I will have a think. I am so jealous of you, it sounds great.

luckywinner Thu 08-Oct-09 21:36:34

Thanks giddy. I am so scared I am going to sound like something out of a gcse exam grin. Bugger, why didn't I get to do something like this pre-children when I had some semblance of a brain.

missmuddle Thu 08-Oct-09 21:36:50

he is a fab author and I love Owen Meany - i will have a good think of what i might ask.

I know they made a film of Owen Meany that i think he refused to allow the same title to be used and having watched it i can understand why.

When is he on bookclub

luckywinner Thu 08-Oct-09 21:38:49

I'm not sure when its on but the recording is next Wednesday. I'll find out for you though. I even get to take my copy along to be signed.

MrsMuddle Thu 08-Oct-09 21:43:23

Ooh, how exciting! I loved this book. Every time I read a block of upper case text, no matter what the context, I imagine it being spoken in Owen's voice.

Question - did he think of the ending first and work back, or did he decide the ending later.

I am v envy of you going to a recording with him. Please let us know when it will be broadcast.

Hassled Thu 08-Oct-09 21:43:40

Ask him why he thinks so many people love it so much. What is it about Owen Meany, rather than Garp or Hotel New Hampshire or Cider House that people identify with/remember? I'm buggered if I know - I mean I love the book, but can't quantify why.

thesecondcoming Thu 08-Oct-09 21:47:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

luckywinner Thu 08-Oct-09 21:49:17

Hassled I know exactly what you mean. I absolutely (in true Charlie and Lola speak) completely adore this book. I have some weird connection to it.

MrsMuddle, that's a good one. It is an ending that I can say I cried at and I wasn't even pregnant.

I just want to ask an honest question about a book I love without sounding like an arse or a thicko! I also love Garp but not as much. Owen is my true love!

snigger Thu 08-Oct-09 21:55:18

You lucky bugger envy grin

It's my favourite book alright.

Having said that, I can't for a moment think what I would ask the man himself.

There's so much I'd like to know, but also wouldn't, if you know what I mean - I quite like my own interpretations!

spectacle Thu 08-Oct-09 22:05:00

This is a stupid question but one I would like the answer to.

Is the other boy (forgotton his name blush) supposed to be like St. Peter?

and what is it with all the amputations in his books (he must get asked that all the time)

JammyOLantern Thu 08-Oct-09 22:07:08

I love this book big time. I think it's my favourite all time book, definitely me favourite Irving. Sometimes though I think Widow for One Year is my favourite.

Am very envy of luckywinner and would love to know when this will be broadcast.

troutpout Thu 08-Oct-09 22:19:09

omg!
envy envy

Woollymummy Thu 08-Oct-09 22:20:13

very envious, amazing book. My copy started falling apart from re-reading.

I would want to know whether he ever knew anyone like Owen Meany, or if he came out of his own mind entirely. I found the character so believable, his fate so fantastic and yet so compelling. This book made me feel so lost in his plot, it seemed to awful that it was only a story. I don't quite know how to explain.

WartoScreamo Thu 08-Oct-09 22:22:59

I would ask something about the planning? Basically it's a book where lots of convoluted nonsensical things come together and make sense at the very end. How did he do this? Envisage the end and work back .....if yswim? Or vice versa? It must have been very hard to write.

WartoScreamo Thu 08-Oct-09 22:26:31

I know what you mean Woolly, in a way. Everyone in the book loved Owen and you come to love him too. But it's hard to imagine what he REALLY looks like - tiny with the squeaky voice.....Hardly a sexual object - yet Hester allegedly had a "romance" with him. In the book it seems perfectly natural though...Maybe that is another question?

luckywinner Thu 08-Oct-09 23:05:10

I was thinking about the voice thing too. I wonder whether he ever heard anything like it that inspired him in some way. And also right from the beginning he seems so wise. Woolly I agree that in some part the tragedy is it is only a story. Since reading it though I don't think its ever just been a book/story to me. That may sound a bit naff, sorry!

The book is very fatalistic but then I feel a bit like some of his others are too and this isn't really much of a question.

Right am off to read a bit more. Will be back on the thread later and thanks loads to all the brilliant suggestions. I will point Mr Irving towards this little adoring corner of Mumsnet grin

1dilemma Fri 09-Oct-09 00:48:15

yes please tell us when it's on

and enjoy yourself!

nooka Fri 09-Oct-09 03:31:24

Wow. How cool! I love Owen Meany, and also Until I Find You. Although I too cried when Owen died, it was John I really felt for, left behind and purposeless. John Irving seems to have a lot of abandoned children (and adults too I guess). There's a strong line of tragedy behind all the comedy. I guess since he has said that there is an element of autobiography in his writing that he has had some significant sadnesses in his life.

troutpout Fri 09-Oct-09 08:55:28

Yes lucky winner smile
enjoy yourself <<she says through gritted teeth>>
grin
Personally i'd like to know more about the themes in his books...the bears, the wrestlers (ok i know where the wrestling is from), the whores,the transvestites,the horrible accidents etc.It's too early for me to be clever and think of a question grin but there's one there i think.

luckywinner Sun 11-Oct-09 19:30:30

Ok everyone I need your opinions on the questions I might ask.

How come John wasn't more angry with Owen for killing his mother?

His mother seemed to be really the perfect mother, yet she died without telling John who his father was. Why wasn't he more angry about that?

Dan, when Tabby died, seemed to become a bit of a heavy drinker yet it is only alluded to. (Do you think this is just all seen through a small boy's eyes?)

Also I am fascinated with the armadillo!

I don't really want to have ask questions as such. I just want to go and listen. This is too stressful!

itchyandscratchy Sun 11-Oct-09 19:33:46

agree about MrsMuddle's question.

I loved the book but it was still very contrived and I can't imagine anything but Irving having the climax at the forefront of his thoughts, planning, drafting and writing all the way along; almost like writing it backwards.

TheOldestCat Sun 11-Oct-09 19:34:53

Oh, how fab! Tis one of my favourite books too.

I think your questions are all good ones - don't be nervous, enjoy it.

Agree with Warto about the structure. It's brilliant and works so well - how did he plan it out? Did he see the ending clearly before he imagined the character of Owen?

sayanything Sun 11-Oct-09 19:38:42

Oh I'm so jealous!

I would ask something about Owen's voice, because I've always been curious - what inspired Irving to create such a unique 'sound' for Owen and whether it symbolised anything.

I hope you have a fab time!

luckywinner Sun 11-Oct-09 19:45:22

If its ok with MrsMuddle I am going to use your question. I have to give a couple by tomorrow. There is something v intriguing about the structure of it.

I really want to ask the inspiration behind his voice but can't as someone else is asking.

Need to think about things about his mother, and Dan as there are no questions about that. I was thinking that (and I might be wrong as it was an age since I read the book, although am rereading it now) doesn't John stay a virgin? And he's so angry about America and Reagan. Is it all left over anger from his mother's death and maybe he stayed celibate as no one measured up.

However these are all things I think, I am not sure I want to ask about them! It is hard to ask questions about a book you don't want to really pick apart as you just simply loved it.

Thanks for all the help so far though. Where would I be without Mumsnet?!

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