A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love - tormented, funny, and affecting - and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a "sexual suspect," a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 - in his landmark novel of "terminal cases," The World According to Garp.
His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving's In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy's friends and lovers - a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself "worthwhile."
This tender exploration of nascent desire, of love and loss, manages to be sweeping, brilliant, political, provocative, tragic and funny - it is precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel. A profound truth is arrived at in these pages. It is Irving at his most daring, at his most ambitious. It is America and American writing, both at their very best.
In One Person is a novel that makes you proud to be human. It is a book that not only accepts but also loves our differences. From the beginning of his career Irving has always cherished our peculiarities - in a fierce, not a saccharine way. Now he has extended his sympathies - and ours - still further into areas that even the misfits eschew. John Irving in this magnificent novel - his best and most passionate since The World According to Garp - has sacralized what lies between polarizing genders and orientations. And have I mentioned it is also a gripping page-turner and a beautifully constructed work of art?