An Evening with John Irving

Magers & Quinn is pleased to host an evening with John Irving–Monday, November 9, at 7:00pm, at the Suburban World Theater (3022 Hennepin Ave S). He will read from his new novel Last Night in Twisted River.

This is a ticketed event. Tickets are available only at M&Q and are $30.25 plus tax. This price includes admission and a signed book and admission to the reading. Only 200 tickets are available. This will be John Irving’s only public appearance in the Twin Cities, and no other signed copies of Last Night in Twisted River will be available in town.

“Veteran novelist Irving’s twelfth novel is full to bursting with story, character and emotion…. Irving is a natural-born story-teller with a unique and compelling authorial voice. He shapes his over-the-top plot and larger-than-life characters into an artful reflection of how the past informs the present, both for the unforgettable trio at the heart of his novel and the flawed but indomitable country they live in.”–Booklist (starred review)

Over the course of an extraordinary career that spans more than forty years, John Irving has earned a distinguished reputation as one of the greatest storytellers of our time. With a body of work that includes novels, short stories and memoirs, Irving has taken readers on incredible journeys into the hearts and minds of characters who are trying to find a place for themselves in a world that has a tendency to turn topsy-turvy. Whether telling the story of a young man’s memorable coming-of-age (The World According to Garp); chronicling the trials and tribulations of an unforgettably eccentric family (The Hotel New Hampshire); describing the life of a young orphan as he tries to make a place for himself in the world (The Cider House Rules); recounting with laughter and tears an ill-fated friendship (A Prayer for Owen Meany) or documenting the extraordinary exploits of a magician caught up in a decades-old mystery (A Son of a Circus), John Irving has set the standard of excellence in contemporary fiction. On Last Night in Twisted River–John Irving’s achingly beautiful novel that explores the profound love between fathers and sons, the mysteries of love and sex, and the relationship between the memories that haunt us and the fiction they inspire–will be available on October 27, 2009.

The year is 1954. In a logging settlement in northern New Hampshire, Dominic Baciagalupo works as a cook, feeding a crew of hungry workers from dawn until dusk. A widower still reeling from the death of his beloved wife years before, Dominic is devoted to his twelve-year-old son Daniel. The camp is a rough and tumble place to raise a child, but the cook will do anything and everything he can to provide for his son.

Dominic is somewhat of a loner and spends much of his time prepping for the meals to come and attending to his duties as a parent. His closest friend is Ketchum, a hard living river man whose musings about life and the ways of the world become more abrasive with each drink he consumes. The two men are remarkably different, yet they are linked by an unusual history. There is also Injun Jane, the kitchen dishwasher, who dotes on young Daniel and offers Dominic companionship on lonely nights. Yet if Jane’s boyfriend, Twisted River’s ruthless lawman Constable Carl, were ever to find out about these trysts, there would be hell to pay.

On a fateful evening, young Daniel makes a tragic mistake that leads to the death of Injun Jane. In a split second, lives are changed forever. Dominic and Daniel are forced to flee Twisted River and become fugitives, trying to escape the vengeance of Constable Carl. In a journey that spans more than half a century, father and son travel from the buttoned-down repression of Boston in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, to the American Midwest at a time when the country is on a collision course with its past and its future, to the melancholic landscape of southern Vermont and, finally, to the Canadian north.

Aided and abetted by an unforgettable cast of characters, Dominic and Daniel experience the triumphs and tragedies that shape a lifetime. Over the years, their relationship deepens, as the roles of the protector and the protected inevitably shift.

In a recent interview, John Irving said, “There’s one thing that readers take away from many of my stories, which is don’t take the people you love for granted. Love them while they’re there, because you don’t know how the story ends.” Last Night in Twisted River is a reminder that we should love the important people in our lives ferociously because, indeed, we do not know how the story ends. Sweeping in its scope and intimate in its exploration of the lives of its characters, the novel is a work of one of America’s greatest storytellers at the height of his powers.