Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Garp

The Boy Scout and I are in the middle of the World According to Garp by John Irving. It’s my first Irving novel and I’ve never seen the movie so I had no preconceived notions of what to expect. I’m finding it far more than just enjoyable, it’s hilarious.

The man, using his deep, beautiful voice, is reading to me last night. He, with his head at the top of the bed next to the reading lamp and me, with my head at the foot of the bed, playing a game of solitaire on my iPad while he reads. Not uncommon for me to be lulled to sleep by the sound of his voice so the Solitaire keeps me wide-awake during the readings.

Smack dab in the middle of the book we are reading a short story by Garp that he has given his wife to review. The story is about an accident Garp hears near his home. He approaches the scene and finds a rather large man still in his seat, drunk enough that he seems unaware that he is hanging upside down. At some point he starts talking to a bowling ball, calling it Roger.

My mans voice gets so soft, I turn to apprehend why I can no longer hear him. I look and I see his mouth pulled into a tight frozen smile. I see his top row of teeth, surrounded by his salt and pepper mustache and beard, but nothing is coming out. Suddenly I hear a kind of breathy wheeze. It gets louder. A layer of light staccato coughing is added until it reaches the crescendo of all out smokers style hack with tears rolling down his face. At this point he has to take a break.

Admittedly, the part he read was funny but I think I missed most of it so I’ll have him reread that section. Other parts of the book have left me feeling an aching, painful emptiness. Great writing.

Well worth a read if you haven’t gotten around to it.

9 comments:

  1. Oh yes, "Garp" is a super book and one of John Irving's best! It has many layers of meaning, some of which will stay with you forever. For example, Garp's mother "The Nurse" haunts me still. She dedicates her life to female victims of rape, yet is a rapist herself. Did she get consent from Garp's comatose father before impregnating herself by him? No. Irving loves creating such ironic and hypocritical portraits. (Definitely see the movie when you're done but it is, of course, ultimately no match for the complexity of the book).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I will never forget Jenny, Roberta or especially the little girl in the park.

      It has challenged me not to judge and I had to work to not hate Garp when he cheated. I suspect Helen gets back at him.

      Delete
  2. The movie, a drama-comedy, had Robin Williams as Garp. Now that he has killed himself, I feel that he's killed it all - book and movie. No fun, no comedy, just the tragic ending of a great actor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Robin and when I think of what he went through I feel nothing but regret for both him and his family. It does not dull his wonderful talent for me though. He was one of those people who have an inner light that couldn't be shut off. I've met only one other and she both keeps me entranced and exhausts me at the same time.

      Delete
  3. Never read the book. If I read the book I never go see the movie and in this case the other way around. I don't think I could read it and not picture John Lithgow, Robin Williams or even Glenn Close. I loved the movie and I bet I'd have loved the book even more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I saw the movie and liked it. Never read the book but when there is both a movie and a book most times I choose the book, it's usually better and more in-depth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never read it but now I'm a lot more curious about it! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

What do you have to say about that?