Last Night in Twisted River

  • by John Irving
  • Narrated by Arthur Morey
  • 24 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious 12-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the 12-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 12th 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 15, 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 best seller 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."


What the Critics Say

“Absolutely unmissable . . . [A] big-hearted, brilliantly written and superbly realized intergenerational tale of a father and son.” (Financial Times)
“There’s plenty of evidence in Irving’s agility as a writer in Last Night in Twisted River. . . . some of the comic moments are among the most memorable that Irving has written.” (New York Times)
“Engrossing . . . Irving’s sentences and paragraphs are assembled with the skill and attention to detail of a master craftsman creating a dazzling piece of jewelry from hundreds of tiny, bright stones.” (Houston Chronicle)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Better to read it

I've been a fan of Irving's since 1978 when "Garp" was the first hardcover I ever bought. Since then there have been some very good books (Garp, Owen Meany, Widow for One Year) and some not as good (Son of the Circus, Fourth Hand, and Until I Find You). Twisted River is one of the better ones. Good story, good characters, and good writing. Unfortunately, I listened to it rather than buying the book and reading it. I found myself mentally rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue, until it occured to me that the problem was the reader and not the prose. When I imagined reading the words I was listening to, everything fell into place and the book instantly improved.

This is the same reader as "Until I Find You", which I had judged to be an interminable mess. Could it be that the earlier book was better than I originally thought? Well no, but a good reader can often improve the experience of reading a book. This one, who has a perfectly pleasant tone, has no ear for voices, particularly the women. In a dialogue-rich book like this one, it was very distracting and ultimately diminished my enjoyment of a very good novel.

I'd rate the book itself 4 stars and the performance 1 star.
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- James Ladden

Not Plausible

Having just listened to A Prayer for Owen Meany, I saved my credit for a month to download the 2 credit Last Night In Twisted River. So many plot points in this novel are just not plausible. The central plot development is ridiculous. There are several points where characters finally act or react to an event that happened fifty or sixty years in the past. These characters have got to be the slowest in the history of literature.
Rather than the taut writing of Owen Meany, Night in Twisted River is pedantic, lengthy and dull.
If all that weren't disappointing enough, the narration in this book is just awful. The narrator makes children and women sound like they are being read by kids who taunt other kids on the playground.

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- Kristi Warriner

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio