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Last Night in Twisted River

A Novel

Irving, John

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Last Night in Twisted River
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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: New York : Random House, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 1400063841
9781400063840
Branch Call Number: FICTION IRVING 2009
Characteristics: xii, 554 p. ;,25 cm

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n 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 ... Read More »


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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
  • empbee rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Great story telling; the usual great style.

Not a great book but an easy & entertaining read if you don't object to a predictably violent ending

Terrible, just a rehash of his other books. Very bad!

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
  • dgrace rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Good story, great characters, John Irving never disappoints...

Jun 17, 2011
  • MikeDay rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

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.

Jan 12, 2011
  • Reyhaneh rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

definitely a good read
with the flow of a twisted river in this talented writer's (Daniel Baciagalupo) life story.
with remarkable characters: Ketchum, Dominic and Daniel Baciagalupo, and all along with different characters that anytime in the story, one of them somehow had "angel" in their name.
I enjoyed the way that main character writes his own life's novel, and the way he criticizes his own writing
although there were not enough bends in Twisted River to account for the river's name, this life story had many bends, and still it flew like running water, I can't imagine how it could be written better than this.
I wonder if Irving started with the end of book or the beginning, or anywhere in the midst, as Daniel says about his notes before finishing a book: "They're sentences, or parts of sentences, ahead of myself; they're waiting for me to catch up with them"

from the book:
"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 loose people, who once seemed they would always be part of our lives."

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

Dec 16, 2010
  • loudem rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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...

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