By John Irving

ISBN-10: 0062204092

ISBN-13: 9780062204097


i'm doomed to recollect a boy with a wrecked voice—not due to his voice, or simply because he used to be the smallest individual I ever knew, or perhaps simply because he used to be the tool of my mother's demise, yet simply because he's the explanation i think in God; i'm a Christian as a result of Owen Meany.

in the summertime of 1953, eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are enjoying in a bit League baseball (generic term) in Gravesend, New Hampshire. one of many boys hits a bad ball that kills the opposite boy's mom. The boy who hits the ball doesn't think in injuries; Owen Meany believes he's God's software. What occurs to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is striking.

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Extra resources for A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel

Sample text

Chaucer was not alone in this consciousness of literary responsibility. The relationship between Troilus and Criseyde and the Legend of Good Women has an illuminating analogue in the relationship between Jehan le Fèvre’s translation of Matheolus’s Lamentations and his own Livre de Leesce, written to answer and atone for the misogynist attacks of the earlier work. Already in the Lamentations itself, Jehan had intervened to express his unease with the material he was translating, and to assure his readers that he has no hatred for women 17 In addition, Stephen Hawes (writing in the early sixteenth century) referred to this work as ‘the tragydyes so pytous/Of the nyntene ladyes’ (Pastime of Pleasure 1326–7).

The vision of the House of Fame in Book III shows the problems attendant on credulity of this sort: the medley of truths and falsehoods, of obliterating silences and unsubstantiated reputations, renders the recovery of historical truth effectively impossible. As in the Livre de Leesce, so here too Homer is accused of writing ‘lyes,/Feynynge in hys poetries’, which are to be dismissed as ‘fable’ (1477–80). Chaucer’s vision of the true source of poetic authority is to be found not in Book III, but at the very outset of his dream, in the presentation of Dido.

O wikke Fame! – for ther nys Nothing so swift, lo, as she is! O soth ys, every thing ys wyst, Though hit be kevered with the myst. ’ (345–60) It is in her role as victim of ‘wikke Fame’ that Dido claims entrance to Chaucer’s House of Fame; she is the suffering human subject who must bear to be represented by the accounts of others – accounts that are circulated not only in oral form (‘songe’) but also in writing (‘red’). At the head of this written tradition stands Book IV of the Aeneid. Vergil’s account is not devoid of 8 Dronke ([1986] 1992, 451) comments on ‘the wider, exemplary dimension’ that Chaucer gives to Aeneas’s treachery in Dido’s lament; her story becomes meaningful ‘insofar as the magnificent but remote queen of Carthage is seen to have an experience no different from that of any woman betrayed by any man’ (452).

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A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel by John Irving


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