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Front St.Trails Section - Clovis Free PressBack St.
Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press

Sunday March 25, 2001

The World Acording To Garp
Republished Edition Back in Bookstores

The Howard Hobbs Ph.D.,
Valley Press Media Network

    CLOVIS -- This book by John Irving is still a good read! It was reissued by Ballentine Books in 1994. Irving presents the reader with several moral issues still worth close examination.
     The thing is, John Irving lets his main characters do wrong things. There are very real consequences. Irving's characters as very human. They make mistakes. Better yet, they are not always redeemed.
    Perhaps, for this reason, Irving's characters are the best modern literature has to offer up. We can relate to them because we ourselves are often wrong and seldom are redeemed or saved from consequences. We are neither strong nor are we timely enough to right our wrongs. 
     The last words in Irving's narrative are probably the most striking: "In the world according to Jenny Fields, we are all vitals, externals, absentees, and goners. But in the world according to the Clovis Free Press, we are all worth saving.
     Maybe a close rereading of Garp after a few years of benign neglect is what we all need once every decade. I know I was at once struck by how elegantly Irving's narrative still shimmers like an exquisite Kafkaesque insect in the amber of the novel and how, at the same time it was a simple parable for modern man like Garrison Keillor and his Lake Wobegon Days radio broadcasts serve as a reminder how things were never so simple as they seemed to us at the time!
     But, be warned, this is the life and times of  T.S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields -- a feminist leader ahead of her times. And this is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son in a dark and violent world of sexual extremes and extreme comedy. 
     Maybe that's why it is the best-selling, well-loved modern classic of modern life, love, and tragedy, that it was and is. In short it is that which we may still regard as "good reading!"

Letter to the Editor

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