A Prayer for Owen Meany
A NovelBook - 1989
"A remarkable novel. . . . A Prayer for Owen Meany is a rare creation in the somehow exhausted world of late twentieth-century fiction--it is an amazingly brave piece of work . . . so extraordinary, so original, and so enriching. . . . Readers will come to the end feeling sorry to leave [this] richly textured and carefully wrought world."
-- STEPHEN KING, Washington Post
A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick
I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice--not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys--best friends--are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.
"Roomy, intelligent, exhilarating, and darkly comic . . . Dickensian in scope . . . Quite stunning and very ambitious." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Brilliantly cinematic . . . Irving shows considerable skill as scene after scene mounts to its moving climax." -- ALFRED KAZIN, New York Times
From Library Staff
Diminutive Owen Meany's life is touched by God. Orphaned Johnny Wheelwright's life is touched by Owen. From the accident that links them to the mystery that follows them-and the martyrdom that parts them-the events of their lives form a tapestry of fate and faith in a novel that is Irving at his... Read More »
Diminutive Owen Meany's life is touched by God. Orphaned Johnny Wheelwright's life is touched by Owen. From the accident that links them to the mystery that follows them-and the martyrdom that parts them-the events of their lives form a tapestry of fate and faith in a novel that is Irving at his ... Read More »
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
[Owen Meany's] a slight fella, given none of the breaks life has to offer, and speaks only in CAPITAL LETTERS.
"...good friends are nothing to each other if they are not supportive."
I could have told her that it was only our illusion that Owen Mean weighed 'nothing at all.' We were only children--we are only children-- I could have told her. What did we know about Owen? What did we truly know? We had the impression that everything was a game-- we thought we made everything up as we went along. When we were children,we had the impression that almost eveything was just for fun-- no harm intended, no damage done. When we held Owen Meany above our heads, when we passed him back and forth-- so effortlessly-- we believed that Owen weighed nothing at all. We did not realize that there were forces beyond our play. Now I know they were the forces that contributed to our illusion of Owen's weightlessness; they were the forces we didn't have faith to feel, they were the forces we failed to believe in-- and they were also the lifting up Owen Meany, taking him out of our hands. O God-- please give him back! I shall keep on asking You.
By the time she came back, of course, we'd forgotten everything about whatever 'it' was-- because as soon as she left the room, we would fool around with a frenzy. Because being alone with our thoughts was no fun, we would pick up Owen Meany and pass him back and forth, overhead. We managed this while remaining seeted in our chairs- that was the challenge of the game. Someone-- I forgot who started it--would get up, seize Owen, sit back down with him, pass him to the next person, who would pass him on and so forth. The girls were included in this game; some of the girls were the most enthusiastic about it. Everyone could lift up Owen. We were very careful; we never dropped him. His shirt might become a litle rumpled. His necktie was so long, Owen tucked it in his trousers--or else it would have hung to his knees-- and his necktie often cam untucked; sometimes his change would fall out (in our faces). We always gave him his money back.
In Sunday school, we developed a form of enterainment based on abusing Owen Meany, who was so small that not only did his feet not touch the floor when he sat in his chair-- his knees did not extend to the edge of his seat: therefore, his legs stuck out straight, like the legs of a doll. It was as if Owen Meany had been born without realistic joints
SummaryAdd a Summary
A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY (Ballantine Books, $6.99) is written with the natural grace few modern fiction writers are able to engineer. With Irving's guidance, the story unfolds, unimpeded by any expectation on the reader's part, because it takes only a few paragraphs to realize Owen Meany is unlike anybody the celebrated author has written before. The story is fresh, genuine, nonsensibly New England, classic Irving.
This book is about Owen from the perspective of John, the narrator. They are best friends and the book takes us through their lives together. Early in the book, Owen hits the baseball that kills John's mother, whom they both love dearly. There is also the mystery of who John's father is as well as what will happen to Owen Meany (it becomes clear as you read that Owen has some kind of purpose). Overall, this book is more about faith (in the world, god, each other, etc.) than anything else. It will make you question the world around you as well as your place in it.
AgeAdd Age Suitability
There are no notices for this title yet.