Thursday, October 29, 2009

LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER by John Irving




I received an advance copy of this book from Random House. (Thank you!!!)

Reading this book directly after Dan Brown's THE LOST SYMBOL just about gave me whiplash.  Whereas
Brown seems to think that readers have the attention spans of gnats, Irving takes his time with his story whether his readers get impatient or not. 

LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER begins with a father and son working in the cookhouse of a logging camp in northern New Hampshire.  One fateful night, a tragic accident occurs that forces the father and his ten-year-old son to flee Twisted River and its vengeful constable.  The story spans fifty years and follows the father and son as they try to move beyond the past and make peace with the present. They always seem only one step ahead of the constable who is determined to kill them both.

It is difficult to describe this book with any accuracy.  It is much more than a tale of revenge and flight.  It is a story of relationships, survival and loss.  Irving is a truly gifted writer.  He takes his time with the story making sure the reader has a feel for the landscape as well as the characters within the book.  At the book's end, the reader knows the characters so well that it feels as if you have lived a lifetime with them.

This book makes a great read for fall/winter as most of it takes place in cold wintry climes.  I felt as if I had to wrap up in a blanket when I read it because Irving was so successful in conveying the cold and chill of the various locales. The story moves back and forth through time in a way that could sometimes be confusing but was ultimately effective. You often discover what happens to characters before you discover HOW it happened. 

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended.  A beautifully written and moving book that provides just enough of a challenge to make one feel as if you have accomplished something. Irving has redeemed himself in my eyes after his last disastrous novel. (UNTIL I FIND YOU)

2 comments:

Diane said...

Great review Amy. I've enjoyed Irving in the past , and plan to read this one soon. I want to read Her Fearful Symmetry first though. Thanks again

Amy said...

HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY is on my list too, Diane! I currently have it on order so hopefully it will arrive soon. It sounds like a good fall/winter read.

-Amy