Rambling River

At 554 pages and featuring a sprawling story spanning nearly the entire lifespan of its protagonist, John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River is the quintessential “big, thick novel.”

This was my first stab at reading Irving, though I was familiar with his storytelling through the excellent film adaptations of his celebrated novels The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules.  Like those works, this latest novel presents itself as an intimate epic, one that looks inwardly at an individual’s entire life amongst an eclectic community of misfits.

The novel opens with a lengthy episode in the titular Twisted River community where a limping cook named Cookie and his young son, Daniel (who grows up to be a best-selling novelist) work for a logging camp.  Through a series of unfortunate (and unlikely) events they become the victims of exile.  Continue reading