Guest of honour
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It’s fifty years since his debut novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published and forty years since his most famous work, The World According to Garp, came out. A fine reason to invite John Irving as one of the ILFU’s guests of honour.
John Irving (1942) is regarded as one of the greatest living American authors. He won an O. Henry Award, the National Book Award and an Oscar for his film script for The Cider House Rules. Forty years ago, the publication of The World According to Garp caused a storm in the literary world. T.S. Garp became one of the archetypal heroes of world literature. Forty years later, nothing in the novel is dated. On the contrary: many of the themes (sexual freedom, emancipation of women, dominant and predatory men) are still just as current today as they were back then. Ten novels later, the world of John Irving, inhabited by wrestlers, orphans, prostitutes, circus artists, transsexual football players and lusty feminists has slowly become a familiar world. His latest novel is Avenue of Mysteries, a vintage Irving about the wonderful trip of a man who ultimately has nothing other than his dreams and memories.
Our guest of honour will be interviewed by Rik van de Westelaken.
‘For the sake of satire, the forms of violence in The World According to Garp are taken to absurd levels, but that does not make the book any less successful. As an absurd satire on the condition américaine in the sixties and seventies, Irving’s fourth novel is more than successful; as an easily readable portrait of a likeable Everyman it is hardly surpassed.’ Pieter Steinz in NRC Handelsblad.