The World According to Garp

A Novel

Irving, John, 1942-

Paperback - 1998
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The World According to Garp
Print
Random House, Inc.
This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields, a feminist leader ahead of her time. This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes, even of sexual assassinations. It is a novel rich with lunacy and sorrow, yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries–with more than ten million copies in print–this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”
This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields--a feminist leader ahead of her times. This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes--even of sexual assassinations. It is a novel rich with 'lunacy and sorrow'; yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries--with more than ten million copies in print--this novel provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line: 'In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.'

Baker & Taylor
T.S. Garp, a man with high ambitions for an artistic career and with obsessive devotion to his wife and children, and Jenny Fields, his famous feminist mother, find their lives surrounded by an assortment of people including teachers, whores, and radicals

Blackwell North Amer
The World According to Garp is a comic and compassionate coming-of-age novel that established John Irving as one of the most imaginative writers of his generation. A worldwide bestseller since its publication in 1978, Irving's classic is filled with stories inside stories about the life and times of T. S. Garp, novelist and bastard son of Jenny Fields - a feminist leader ahead of her time. Beyond that, The World According to Garp virtually defies synopsis.

Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1998
ISBN: 0345418018
9780345418012
Branch Call Number: FIC I
Characteristics: 446 p. ; 21 cm.

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Oct 22, 2014

GET SOME MORE COPIES OF THIS BOOK!
This is a modern classic, and you have three total copies for a city of 7 million people. This was written 40 years ago and you can see there are still 15 holds on it. That's 15 customers you are neglecting on a book that wont be a doorstop by next summer! This is should be a red flag.
Get on it NYPL!! I believe you're better than this.

May 10, 2014
  • JCLBeckyC rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

T.S. Garp--named after the father he never knew--is the son of legendary feminist Jenny Fields. He wants to be taken seriously as a writer, but he can't seem to get out from under the shadow of his famous mother and her entourage of eccentric friends. I read this book in one insomniac night when I was 20. That was 23 years ago. To this day, I think of the characters in the novel as if they were long lost friends.

May 31, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book made me laugh and gasp. Truly memorable characters spread through a fantastic book.

Mar 22, 2013
  • mackiecat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The John Irving novel that really started it all. It goes into some places that seem weird and definitely fantastic. Pro-gay, pro feminist (although with a cautionary tale - reminiscent of any cult scene in the '70's) and definitely pro-survive anything and go forward. Acceptance of other people going in other directions.

Definitely John Irving.

Strangely, one starts to have real affection for some of the characters. Just watch your heart - anything can happen to any of them at any time.

Definitely for the brave.

Feb 12, 2013

This is one of very few novels I've ever read four times in my life. I find it so well written, heart-breaking, humourous, realistic, and far-fetched. So many things from out of the blue that it just seems like real life to me. A five star novel.

Mar 20, 2012
  • sfogs rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Read this awhile ago. I found it very well written. Read as part of an online book group, and as another 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die list book.

Aug 21, 2011
  • mishao rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The amazing thing about this book is how well John Irving has figured out his characters. Every little detail. I love when he adds something they wrote one time as a little afterthought. It's humorous and sad and happy and interesting. Sometimes I found it difficult and tedious to read the stories embedded in the book, but it was part of the story as well. In the end, it was all worth it and the themes are great.

Jun 30, 2011
  • BookEnthusiast rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I am probably the only sole on Earth that doesn't agree with others regarding this book. I found it far fetched (mother's means of conception) and somewhat boring.

Mar 07, 2011

A really good read; thoroughly enjoyed it and another confirmation of why Irving is one of my favourite authors. It's about a father's fears; that bad things happen. It's a novel about the need to be careful and how, sometimes, that isn't enough.

Nov 25, 2010
  • jasonkeats rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of my all time favorites, this book has it all. It is funny, sad, and uplifting, with memorable characters. The movie was really good as well;l as it kept true to the spirit of the book.

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Mar 07, 2011

From Wikipedia . . .

The story deals with the life of T. S. Garp. His mother, Jenny Fields, is a strong-willed nurse who wants a child but not a husband. She encounters a dying ball turret gunner known only as Technical Sergeant Garp who was severely brain damaged in combat. Jenny nurses Garp, observing his infantile state and almost perpetual autonomic sexual arousal. As a matter of practicality and kindness in making his passing as comfortable as possible and reducing his agitation she manually gratifies him several times. Unconstrained by convention and driven by practicality and her desire for a child, Jenny uses Garp's sexual response to impregnate herself, and names the resultant son after him "T. S." (standing only for "Technical Sergeant"). Jenny raises young Garp alone, taking a position at an all-boys school.

Garp grows up, becoming interested in sex, wrestling, and writing fiction—three topics in which his mother has little interest. He launches his writing career, courts and marries the wrestling coach's daughter, and fathers three children. Meanwhile, his mother suddenly becomes a feminist icon after publishing a best-selling autobiography called A Sexual Suspect (referring to the general assessment of her as a woman who does not care to bind herself to a man, and who chooses to raise a child on her own).

Garp becomes a devoted parent, wrestling with anxiety for the safety of his children and a desire to keep them safe from the dangers of the world. He and his family inevitably experience dark and violent events through which the characters change and grow. Garp learns (often painfully) from the women in his life (including transsexual ex-football player Roberta Muldoon) struggling to become more tolerant in the face of intolerance. The story is decidedly rich with (in the words of the fictional Garp's teacher) "lunacy and sorrow", and the sometimes ridiculous chains of events the characters experience still resonate with painful truth.

The novel contains several framed narratives: Garp's first novella, The Pension Grillparzer; a short story; and a portion of one of his novels, The World According to Bensenhaver. As well, the book contains some motifs that appear in almost all John Irving novels: bears, wrestling, Vienna, New England, people who are uninterested in having sex, and a complex Dickensian plot that spans the protagonist's whole life. Adultery (another common Irving motif) also plays a large part, culminating in one of the novel's most harrowing and memorable scenes. There is also a tincture of another familiar Irving trope, castration anxiety, most obvious in the lamentable fate of Michael Milton.

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