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. A tale that spans five decades.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
ISBN: 9780307398369
Characteristics: xii, 554 p. ;,24 cm.


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Nov 28, 2018

"Thus we try to keep our heroes alive; hence we remember them." I think I've read every (or almost every) novel by John Irving, who began his career in the late 60s. In some ways he's a fossil: a straight white male writer who loves Dickens. He's never been terribly concerned about trends, about postmodernism, about being fashionable, and he unabashedly embraces 19th century novel devices like the omniscient narrator, intricate plot and subplot, a large cast of characters, and big themes. 2009's "Last Night in Twisted River" is Irving's 12th book and maybe because he's so consistent (Seriously, I've never read a bad book by him), it didn't get much attention. Maybe he'd get more attention if he moved to Brooklyn. "Twisted River" covers geographical (mostly in Irving's native New Gland) and linear (decades) time as it tells the story of a widower and his son. I think his work will endure long after more trendy, critically beloved writers are forgotten.

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

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