Excellent novel!! The novel is very profound -- touching on religion, politics, friendship, and fate. It took me some time to get through the book (it was long and sometimes tedious) and sometimes Irving's style bothered me - he likes to jump around a lot -- from Owen's and Johnny's childhood to the late 80's and back. The OWEN character is unforgettable with his extraordinary perception and VOICE. The novel takes you on a rollercoaster of emotion from humor to moments of sadness. The Vietnam War and the politics of Reagan are also key to the novel (I wonder what Irving thinks of the current situation in Iraq ?!). Overall, I would highly recommend this book -- it's well worth the time investment to read. I have read a few other Irving novels including "The Cider House Rules" (which was wonderful) and "The Hotel New Hampshire" (which I thought was so-so). I'll be reading more Irving in the future.
This was my first Irving book and at first it seemed a huge undertaking and a bit confusing, but he kept the pace up so the confused parts went by fast and eventually I understood his line of thinking and writing and ended up LOVING this book.
It is part mystery, part good ol' "back in the good old days" story-telling, with some comedy and some [just a little bit over the top] political "down memory lane" sections, thrown in for good measure.
All in all you end up wishing the book wouldn't end and amazed at his writing skills. I wished I'd discovered him [Irving] sooner.
One of the best books I've ever read. Owen Meany is an amazing old soul and an amazing boy. This book is one of few that has made me laugh out loud...as well as cry at the end.
"Owen Meany,the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument: he is. This is John Irving's most comic novel; yet Owen Meany is Mr. Irving's most heartbreaking character."
For once the back cover gets it 100% right...this is one of the five most beautiful books I have ever read...as I got to the end of it I was counting the pages, hoping more would magically appear, and hoping that the inevitable would not happen. They didn't, and it did, but the book is still magnificent. If you need a booster shot for your faith in humanity, this is it!
A superlative book. Set during the Vietnam War era, it transcends that period and establishes John Irving as a major modern writer. If you don't read another book this year, you owe it to yourself to read this one.