Friday, March 10, 2017

John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany": Audiobook Review

"The crack of the bat"
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
As the novel is so long, I found it more background than foreground for much of the duration. John Irving likes spinning a yarn, yet this could have been edited and streamlined.

Would you recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany to your friends? Why or why not?
Probably not. It's a considerable investment of time for a plot that while delving into character, does not keep a momentum that demands you stop listening. It does not bore, but it can drone. The lack of necessary action and much digression slows the pace down.

What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I liked his folksy touch. Not only for the New England setting, but for the sky-pilot awkwardness of the Rev. Dudley Wiggin and the rapid-fire snark of Major Rowe. I wished the novel had given Joe Barrett more of a range to work with, as he shows talent in this genre.

Did A Prayer for Owen Meany inspire you to do anything?
Not really. Perhaps reflect again on the folly of Vietnam. It did not convince me of the central moral lesson about Owen's intervention and his calling. But Irving sure tried.

Any additional comments?
The "strangulated falsetto" of Owen is demanding for the speaker and the listener. I admired technically Barrett's ability to switch in and out of it so adroitly. And it will stick with you! (Audible 11/2/16)


Steven R. McEvoy said...

If you found this one long, you should Try Guntag Grass's The Tin Drum that is is based on.

John L. Murphy / "Fionnchú" said...

True enough, Steven. I read that novel in college and saw the film. Both were quite lengthy. Good to see you stop by here...