'According to his mother, Jack Burns was an actor before he was an actor, but Jack's most vivid memories of childhood were those moments when he felt compelled to hold his mother's hand. He wasn't acting then.'
Jack Burns' mother, Alice, is a tattoo artist in search of the boy's father, a virtuoso organist named William who has fled America to Europe. To fund her journey, she plies her trade in the seaports of the Baltic coast. But her four-year-old son's errant father can't be found, and soon even Jack's memories of that perplexing time are called into question. It is only when he becomes a Hollywood actor in later life that what he has experienced in the past comes into telling play in his present......
John Irving has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger, but is arguably more inventive than either. Wry, laconic, he sketches his characters with an economy that springs from a feeling for words and a mastery of his craft
Irving writes with a lapidary directness that is unsurpassed by any living writer
It is very satisfying to read a book that is hard to put down, and if this were a more valued criterion, Irving would no doubt by now have received the official accolades he deserves
Vivid, eccentric, memorable
Irving's popularity is not too difficult to understand. His world really is the world according to everyone