Saturday, June 2, 2012

John Irving's Story of a Bi-Sexual Man: "In One Person"


I've read everything John Irving has ever had published...sometimes more than once. And so far, though I'm not finished with "In One Person"...I haven't been disappointed.

Here's a quote from a personal essay written by Irving:

In One Person is about a young bisexual man who falls in love with an older transgender woman--Miss Frost, the librarian in a Vermont public library. The bi guy is the main character, but two transgender women are the heroes of this novel--in the sense that these two characters are the ones my bisexual narrator, Billy Abbott, most looks up to.

You can read more here.

All I can say is that it's interesting to see this subject being tackled in mainstream/literary fiction, and it's even more interesting to see how Irving did it.

I'll post a full review when I'm finished. I read Irving's books very slowly because I don't want them to end too soon. For any writer, just examining how he does things is worth making the reading experience last. I've often tried to apply the same techniques to romance/erotica, often getting slammed because some don't get what I'm doing. Or, some get it and get pissed that I'm doing it.

If it's true that from a physical standpoint we are what we eat, then as writers I believe we are what we read. And sometimes we all need something with substance, like John Irving...if for no other reason than to let us know there's still hope out there for publishing.

And, though I've been told more than once by editors younger than I am that I'm not supposed to use parentheses because it "pulls the reader out of the story," Irving does it (and very well), so I'm going to continue to do it, too.

4 comments:

Barb said...

I've often thought that my literary tastes are not as "sophisticated" as they should be. But I have to admit I probably enjoy my "fun" authors just as much, if not more than, the more "intellectual" classics. There's only so much Austen and Bronte you can read before you have to have something fun to read!

ryan field said...

I'm very eclectic. I've read Levi Johnston's book and loved it. But I think it is important to know the difference between various kinds of books.

Nithu said...

Thanks for the heads up - I'll look out for this one. A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favourite book, ever.

ryan field said...

One of my favorites, too. Just the first line alone I've read hundreds of times.