Friday, November 27, 2015

Completed: The Fourth Hand

Dear Jenny,

Whoa! This has got to be some kind of record. I wrote the Preview post for this book on Tuesday. Today is Friday and... I'm done!

My fears were unfounded -- this was typical John Irving so-wacky-it's-delightful and I ate it up. In trying to describe this book to Bill, I said, "It's kind of like a dream... and you wake up and say things like, 'Well, we were at work, but it wasn't really work because it was also someone's house and you were there, but it wasn't quite you...'" You know how that goes? It all make sense in the dream, but when you try to describe it later, it's all "Wait... what the hell?!"

So I'm not really going to try to describe it. Kooky story lines, unlikely relationships, and well-drawn characters (especially the women -- Irving does a good job of creating female characters who are both difficult-to-understand and yet draw a lot of empathy) and basically un-put-downable (obviously). If you like Irving, I'd recommend this book.

That means I only have one book to go before we tackle the DFW in December! I'm assuming we won't get into that thing until your break, correct? I also have the week before and after Christmas off, so it seems like that would be a good time for us to tackle that puppy.


PS -- Opinion question for you: while reading this book, I dropped it into a tub full of water (I may have fallen asleep while reading in the bath...) Soo... it's still technically readable, but it's a puffy mess from the water-logging. Do I... donate it anyway with the thought, "Well, someone might not care?" or is that rude and so I should just recycle it now?


  1. Kelly,

    John Irving is just a great storyteller. I absolutely have enjoyed every novel of his that I've ever written. He's one of those authors that I think would be fascinating to see talk about his process. I cannot even imagine how he gets it all in his brain and out onto paper the way he does.

    Would absolutely be up for a Garp reread with you, by the way! That would be super fun. Let's think about that for next year?

    As for DFW, I'm glad to see we are on the same page with some in person talk, and I also would like to suggest the skyping method for early convos, too. I *really* enjoyed that when we did it for the Night Manager. I feel like it was way more in the spirit of the idea for picking common books, which is "it's like book club!"

    PS. #TeamRecycle.

  2. Yes! Let's re-read Garp together. I loved it so much when I first read it.

    I've read some interviews with John Irving and he's said this multiple times -- he always knows how the story is going to end before he even starts -- crazy, right? Here's the latest interview with him on NPR -- I didn't realize he had a new book out.

    And in coincidence-ville... he now lives in Toronto and he loves to walk everywhere (I knew I loved that guy). Also, his latest book was conceived while traveling with photographer Mary Ellen Mark, whose book Prom is on my TBP list (remember that thing?!) and I actually did peruse it in 2015, but I had some problems with it, so I didn't publish my review because, like John Irving, I do not like to write negative reviews (which you would never know from my review of Fugitives and Refugees...). Maybe it's a sign for me to publish that thing already.

    Aaand... that waterlogged book is in the bin. (Bill agreed. I feel guilty about ruining a good book, I must admit).