A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel by John Irving

By John Irving


i'm doomed to recollect a boy with a wrecked voice—not as a result of his voice, or simply because he was once the smallest individual I ever knew, or perhaps simply because he was once the software of my mother's demise, yet simply because he's the explanation i feel in God; i'm a Christian as a result of Owen Meany.

in the summertime of 1953, eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are enjoying in a bit League baseball (generic term) in Gravesend, New Hampshire. one of many boys hits a bad ball that kills the opposite boy's mom. The boy who hits the ball doesn't think in injuries; Owen Meany believes he's God's software. What occurs to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is awesome.

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There was a silence. Nick laughed. “He’s not a poet, Max,” he said. I had never before heard a son address his father by his first name. Max Brevoort peered at me. ” he said, without the least embarrassment. ” He rubbed his hands harder. ” Then we had tea, served by an impertinent maid, and Mrs. Beaver came in from the garden and Big Beaver told her of his having mistaken me for a poet and they both laughed heartily as if it were a wonderful joke. Nick lifted a sympathetic eyebrow at me. ” he asked quietly.

I had no fear that he would discover some new enormity—I have confessed to everything by now, or almost everything—but it seemed imperative to maintain consistency, for aesthetic reasons, I suppose, and in order to be consistent it was necessary to invent. Ironic, I know. He has the tenacity of the ferret: never let go. He is straight out of Dickens; I picture a crooked little house in Stepney or Hackney or wherever it is he lives, complete with termagant wife and a brood of cheeky nippers. It is another of my besetting weaknesses, to see people always as caricatures.

She made the word sound like an ailment. I thought: she can’t be from Skryne, he would never send someone with so little self-control. After a beat of flushed silence I said softly: “In my world, there are no simple questions, and precious few answers of any kind. ” Still fixed on that paperknife, she set her lips so tightly they turned white, and gave her head a quick, stubborn little shake, and I thought, almost with fondness, of Vivienne, my sometime wife, who was the only supposedly grown-up person I ever knew who used actually to stamp her foot when she was angry.

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