In One Person

In One Person His Most Daringly Political, Sexually Transgressive, And Moving Novel In Well Over A Decade Vanity FairWinner Of ALambda Literary AwardA New York Times Bestselling Novel Of Desire, Secrecy, And Sexual Identity, In One Person Is A Story Of Unfulfilled Love Tormented, Funny, And Affecting And An Impassioned Embrace Of Our Sexual Differences Billy, The Bisexual Narrator And Main Character Of In One Person, Tells The Tragicomic Story Lasting Than Half A Century Of His Life As A Sexual Suspect, A Phrase First Used By John Irving InIn His Landmark Novel Of Terminal Cases, The World According To Garp In One Person Is A Poignant Tribute To Billy S Friends And Lovers A Theatrical Cast Of Characters Who Defy Category And Convention Not Least, In One Person Is An Intimate And Unforgettable Portrait Of The Solitariness Of A Bisexual Man Who Is Dedicated To Making Himself Worthwhile

JOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942 His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty six He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty seven Mr Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp He received an O Henry Award

❰Read❯ ➵ In One Person Author John Irving –
  • Hardcover
  • 425 pages
  • In One Person
  • John Irving
  • English
  • 04 March 2017
  • 9781451664126

10 thoughts on “In One Person

  1. says:

    There is a scene near the end of John Irving s latest novel, In One Person,in which a character who is a writer is confronted I ve read all your books and I know what you do I mean, in your writing You make all these sexual extremes seem normal that is what you do Like Gee, that girl, or whatever she is or what she s becoming You create these characters who are so sexually different, as you might call them or fucked up, which is what I would call them and then you expect us to sympathize with them, or feel sorry for them, or something Yes, that is or less what I do, I told him p 424 And that is exactly what Irving does here Irving maintains his fixation on sexuality in this one, and wrestling and New England prep schools, and May December romance So, if he is jogging for the umpteenth time down the same well worn path, what is it that makes this one any different The story is not one of a May December entanglement, although that element is here The book is about sexuality in a larger social, historical context William Abbot, in his late sixties, recalls his life, from his prep school days in the small town of First Sister, Vermont to his present, in the 21st century Billy is bisexual and knows from an early age that he is attracted to both males and females He struggles to find his place in the world, knowing that he differs from the usual in a significant way Irving shows us his journey, his loves, triumphs, disappointments, what he discovers, what he seeks out, the discovery of self and of the world that is the core of any life journey worth telling In the same way that Cabot Cove of Murder, She Wrote fame zoomed way above the statistical norm as a rather dodgy place in which to hold onto one s corporal existence, Little Sister, Vermont seems a statistically anomalous bastion of sexual diversity William has a grandfather who cross dresses, genetic contributions from a gay relation, a cousin who is a lesbian, a best friend who is also bi, a classmate who walks on both sides of the street, another classmate who is gay, and a notable person in town who is transgender Relying on that unimpeachable source, Wikipedia, we learn that as of April 2011, approximately 3.5% of American adults identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, while 0.3% are transgender Of course, the number who are in fact LGB or T is probably higher, as there remain plenty of closets filled with members of those groups not yet able to identify themselves as such Even so, and considering that the period in question is mostly early 1960s, you might want to check under First Sister s slip to see if maybe she might really be First Brother Maybe there s something in the water there, washing down from grandpa s lumber mill This must summon to mind Monty Python s amazingly relevant Lumberjack Song In fact, there is so much non standard sexuality in First Sister, Vt, that one might expect the sport Irving focuses on to shift from his favorite, wrestling, to something like Cross Country, or Mixed doubles.William s tale is primarily that of his mid to late adolescence, his emergence as a bisexual, and coping with the complications and personal growth that result In particular he copes with the ongoing problem of having crushes on the wrong people I felt that this was the strongest part of the book Enough time is dedicated to these early years to give us the richest texture, the deepest appreciation This is not to say that William s years beyond are thin, well, ok maybe a bit thin as he squeezes too many years into too few pages, but if his story were a Hershey kiss, the prep school years would be the lower two thirds For all that this is about William s coming of age, he seemed pretty well formed by the time he appears as a young adolescent He knew what he was, bisexual, and did not seem to suffer much real conflict about it One might expect that he would feel two ways about it, but he didn t, even though he grows into a robust acceptance as he grows.One mechanism Irving used to bolster his characterizations was to give William a speech problem that was probably tongue in cheek William had great difficulty pronouncing words that related to problem areas in his life Penis, for example, comes out penith, with the plural presenting an acute challenge Later, another character is shown to have the same malady This felt forced to me, a bit too cute Literature and theater permeate the story The young William is led to the reading life by the town librarian, the alluring Miss Frost, and this opens the door for Irving to connect his characters to tales from great literature There are two stage venues in First Sister, the school and the town both put on productions This offers many opportunities for Irving to tell us about his characters by the roles they are assigned in the many plays, usually Shakespeare or Ibsen Sadly, no musicals.One strength, for me, was the presentation of a host of believable supporting characters A cross dressing grandparent was a charming, and supportive soul William s bff, Elaine, worked well There are transgender characters portrayed as pillars of strength, very effectively Also there are heterosexual characters who glow as supportive, caring sorts, William s stepfather, Elaine s mother, who offers counseling at the school, and even a gruff seeming wrestling coach And a scan of the history of public attitudes about acceptance of orientation diversity adds heft We see a variety of external pressures put on non heterosexual people, but William does not really seem all that damaged by the prejudices as a teen, although he is victimized by baseless fears as an adult Others, however are damaged A good and supportive person loses a job as a result Later, the AIDS epidemic takes many Having to keep secrets does a fair bit of harm as well There was one particular scene that affected me oddly, made me anxious I am not sure what to make of it The scene in which an adult William returns from his home in Manhattan to Vermont for a funeral was particularly discomfiting I have no particular affection for my home town and the thought of being dragged back there, even for a good cause, gives me a fear of being somehow pinned there forever I feel that I escaped once, and might not if trapped again Maybe like a djinn consigned again to a lamp from which he had been liberated I am not sure why I reacted that way to William returning home Maybe a part of this was the bitter taste of watching the residents of First Sister, Vermont being picked off by the author one by one It seemed something other than sad It seemed almost dismissive As if a list of characters had been posted in the left column, living, and were being systematically dragged into the right hand column, deceased The passings certainly make sense in the context of the story, but something that I obviously cannot adequately describe bugged me about it I am not at all citing this as a flaw, just something I wish I could explain, but cannot.I suppose I could go to the well one time and say that I am ambivalent about In One Person, but I am not What Irving did for the delicate subject of abortion in Cider House Rules, he does for sexual diversity here, humanizing a difficult subject, making us see the humanity of those too often considered outsiders Irving has written a moving story with believable characters, people we can care about and shows without telling.

  2. says:

    Look, here it is I just have to say this, young Kittredge said he almost couldn t look at me i don t know you, I admit I don t have a clue who my father really was, either, But I ve read all your books, and I know what you do I mean, in your writing You make all these sexual extremes seem normal that what you do Like Gee, that girl, or what she is or what she s becoming You create these characters who are so sexually different, as you might call them or fucked up, which is what I would call them and then you expect us to sympathize with them, or feel sorry for them, or something Yes, that s or less what I do I told him John Irving doing that thing he do.His story, Billy Bill William Abbott, begins when he meets Miss Frost, the librarian of the First Sister Public Library In her presence he was overcome with a wave of unprecedented desire I m going to to begin by telling you about Miss Frost While I say to everyone that I became a writer because I read a certain novel by Charles Dickens at the formative age of fifteen, the truth is I was younger than that when I first met Miss Frost and imagined having sex with her, and this moment of my sexual awakening also marked the fitful birth of my imagination We are formed by what we desire In less than a minute of excited, secretive longing, I desired to become a writer and to have sex with Miss Frost not necessarily in that order Hormones are so lovely in the proper dosages, and so alarming when they gallop Billy has a problem with inappropriate crushes There doesn t seem to be any rhyme or reason in who they target or why they must come at him so frequently He develops one for his step father Richard Abbott, embarrassing and alarming all wrapped in one explosive heart pounding package His best friend Elaine s mother provides a mental image that relieves pressure for him frequently I hadn t been honest with Elaine about my crushes I d not yet been brave enough to tell her that both Miss Frost and Jacques Kittredge turned me on And how could I have told Elaine about my confounding lust for her mom Occasionally, I was still masturbating to the homely and flat chested Martha Hadley that tall, big boned woman with a wide, thin lipped mouth, whose long face I imagined on those young girls who were the training bra models in my mom s mail order catalogs Ahhh remember those days when certain pages of the Sear Roebuck Catalog could provide a bit of stimulation under the covers with a light bulb burning so hot there was fear it would catch the sheets on fire Mrs Hadley was also Billy s therapist He has an impediment with certain words In particular with a part of his anatomy that he is most assuredly most obsessed with It comes out penith.Don t ask him to say the plural.Miss Frost is his number one obsession, but easily his number two is a wrestler named Kittredge The same boy that picks on him so mercilessly The same boy that Elaine is also absolutely crazy about It doesn t end there Kittredge s mother is just as fascinating to this pair of friends, united in many things, but certainly between the two of them maybe setting an all time record in this small Vermont town for inappropriate obsessions Elaine and I couldn t look at him without seeing his mother, with her legs so perfectly crossed on those uncomfortable bleacher seats at Kittredge s wrestling match Mrs Kittredge had seemed to watch her son s systematic mauling of his overmatched opponent as if it were a pornographic film, but with the detached confidence of an experienced woman who knew she could do it better Your mother is a man with breasts, I wanted to say to Kittredge, but of course I didn t dare image error

  3. says:

    Rating 3.75 of five The Publisher Says A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love tormented, funny, and affecting and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story lasting than half a century of his life as a sexual suspect, a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of terminal cases, The World According to Garp His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving s In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy s friends and lovers a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself worthwhile My Review I ll start with the personal part I don t get bisexuals We re all bisexual, on a sliding scale developed by good ol Doctor Kinsey Sex feels good if you re doing it right and the plumbing isn t all that important Or wouldn t be if the Longface Puritans League would quit getting all pantiwadulous over the subject.So what, is then my response to the avowed bisexual Big deal, says I If I think the aforementioned bisexual is desirable, I will then proceed to ask him for a date And he will say yes or no And the world will continue to spin But not one single thing will happen because he s bisexual.All very simple, right Oh so wrong To know you re attracted to men is a defining thing for a man Knowing that Davy Jones of the Monkees was the face I wanted to see when I woke up clarified things for me I was, admittedly, seven at the time, and the clarity was limited to knowing that was what I wanted with no concept whatsoever of the other possibilities and requirements But clear I was, and clear I ve stayed Men, please My wives knew they were marrying a gay man, and we had sex in our marriage beds Remember the whole sex feels good passage above It does I promise As much fun as it was, I would never have been faithful to those women, and would never have lied about it, and was clear from the get go what my deal wasbecause I had An Identity Other people didn t and don t like my identity fuck em but I had one And bisexuals, in our binary public culture of Men Want Women and Women Want Men unless their husbands want a three way with another girl , don t rebel enough for the rebels or conform enough for the conformists.That has got to suck wookie balls Here your nature is absolutely in line with what evolution produced, you are the exemplar of the normal and ordinary human sexual response, and no one wants your ass in their camp John Irving s novel deals with sexual awakening, romantic flowering, and relationship hellTWICE Billy, our narrator, knows something s wonky when he gets major wood for the town librarian AND his new stepfather He careens through a hormonally hyperdriven adolescence, a love affair with a gay guy such a bad bad bad idea and on and on and on through fifty years of life as a hidden, unloved, unvalued majority member I loved Irving s honesty about the deeply personal pain and scars he took, and dealt, through Billy s voice I loved the honest self appraisals scattered throughout the book, Irving stating clearly that he was a snob, that he had mixed feelings about AIDS fear, pity, disgust and its victims.Because this is very much a roman clef It comes late in his career, but it is what it is I love that he s written it I love that he tells a man s story of not fitting his skin still less fitting in I don t love the writing It s not memorable in any way I can t think of one single line to quote, I can t remember where the lines I thought might do are located, and in a few days I won t remember much about this book except it s an amazement to me that I was so completely self absorbed that I ever thought bisexuals were just tiresomely difficult to bed.Irving changed my world view a little bit I hope for the better, and I expect for the long haul I m a lot likely not to roll my eyes when some guy I m hitting on tells me he s bisexual in my age cohort, a surprisingly large number of men are coming out as bi So three plus stars If this had been a story about heterosexuals, it would be one and only one star.Because I need these eyeblinks to count Time s not slowing down no matter how many kittens I sacrifice to the gods This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. says:

    John Irving is a unique force in contemporary fiction He can be a brave and bold voice for fairness and common sense The complexity of his plots is matched by the quirkiness of his characters Sexual identity, with all its twists and permutations, would seem like a perfect fit for the Irving treatment Sadly, it is not This story is narrated by Bill Abbott, an impressionable adolescent who is struggling with his bisexuality at a repressive boarding school in the waning days of the 1950 s He comes under the influence of a transsexual librarian with a big heart who provides him with a relevant reading list and his first sexual experience He embarks on a transcontinental sexual odyssey, occasionally returning to Vermont to bury another of his colorful relatives One problem is that Bill and his amazing coterie of misfits and malcontents never come alive as characters They seem to function primarily as agents to further Irving s political agenda Even if you agree with his premise, that sexual expression is a personal choice which should be guaranteed to all, it is difficult to overlook his awkward prose and mind numbing repetition I found the whole thing tiresome Even the plot, with it s Dickensian twists and coincidences, grated on me I found myself skimming the last few pages because I just wanted it to end This was a big disappointment.

  5. says:

    Soy muy rencoroso, desde chico lo soy Pero de la misma forma que confieso este defectillo tambi n os dir que soy muy democr tico en mis rencores Trato por igual a ese amigo que result que no lo era tanto como a esa amante juguetona que hasta de m quiso hacer su juguete como al autor de un libro que, pese a intentarlo de verdad, con ganas, no me guste huyo de ellos como de la peste, dependiendo la velocidad y la radicalidad de la huida nicamente del tiempo que fui enga ado, de la dedicaci n prestada a la relaci n y de las ilusiones en ella puestas Hace muchos, muchos a os le El hotel New Hampshire Desde las primeras p ginas me di cuenta de que la relaci n no iba a ser placentera Sin embargo, continu yo estaba todav a en aquellos a os en los que ten a la ilusa idea de que el esfuerzo en la lectura de un libro ser a premiado al final con su disfrute y que, de propina, conseguir a que en mi mente se estableciera todo un nuevo universo de maravillosas conexiones neuronales que me permitir a gozar de aquellas lecturas que transitaran por sendas similares.Como ya os habr is imaginado todos aquellos cuyo aburrimiento os haya empujado hasta este punto de mi comentario, eso no sucedi termin la novela sin conseguir disfrutar ni un poquito el efecto que pudira haber tenido sobre mi posterior capacidad lectora es m s dif cil de cuantificar John Irving fue solemnemente desterrado de mis futuras posibles lecturas Como con todo prejuicio, uno nunca sabe lo que se puede estar perdiendo Pasados tantos a os de aquello y reducida hasta casi desaparecer mi inquina contra el autor, decid comprobarlo con la lectura de este libro Pues bien, me hincho de orgullo y satisfacci n al poder manifestar que mi rencor hacia Irving no ha renacido y que, al mismo tiempo, no siento la necesidad de tirarme de los pelos por todo aquello que me he perdido durante todos estos a os m s bien deber a decir por todo aquello que no hubiera podido encontrar durante todos estos a os No me ha aburrido, incluso lo he pasado bien y hasta muy bien en algunos momentos principalmente en los que lo he pasado mal contradicciones del placer pero aquello que me separ de l hace ya tanto tiempo se sigue interponiendo entre nosotros, y que no es otra cosa que lo que en la contraportada de mi libro se denomina la incre ble verosimilitud de las obras de Irving y que en este caso tiene un tonillo muy almodovariano juro que en alg n momento de la obra esperaba con absoluta seguridad que aparecer an Almodovar y Mcnamara cogiditos de la mano.

  6. says:

    Got to page 102 and it was a struggle John Irving is a fine writer, but like many men his age, John Updike among them, he goes into his later years with one foot in the grave and one hand on his genitals I never read so much about breasts and penises in one place without anyone having actual sex This is fair he s the author and he can do what he wants But I m getting too old for this.

  7. says:

    As a graduate student I had a great interest in gender studies I thought that domain was where both the most interesting fiction and scholarship was happening Unfortunately while reading this novel, it seemed like it was intended a be political statement on gender studies filled with maxims about sexual difference The actual story was meandering and flat it needed to be about 150 pages shorter It should not take a novel 350 pages to become compelling I kept going because I knew Irving had something to say I just wish he had of a story.

  8. says:

    john, john, john you suck me in every time there s this matrix on wikipedia now deleted, but preserved here i am sure you have seen it the matrix makes me sigh and amuses me it s a conundrum near the end of the book, I felt like you were ticking boxes giving readers a list of socially important things to mull i don t take issue with the issuesthey are important and need to be written about so that tolerance and acceptance become the normsi take issue with the fact this device is that what it was interrupted the flow of the story and yanked me out of my irving induced haze of literary delight it was like being smacked in the face with a big fish possibly a frozen big fish.that cost you one star no i will not give it back.i still love me.

  9. says:

    I am the editor and publisher of this novel Here s what I think about it We use the word great so often that we ve degraded its meaning Great haircut Great idea Great casserole So what can I say, without committing sins of hyperbole, about an author who truly does possess greatness IN ONE PERSON is John Irving s thirteenth novel Having closely read all of the others, I can say with some confidence that it is as relevant to our time and as satisfying a story as were THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, and A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY when they were published.Like those works, IN ONE PERSON addresses the search for identity and connection in a world that is not always tolerant of unconventional people John Irving has long been a champion for sexual freedom In this novel, his portrait of the life and loves of a bisexual man, and the mutability of gender and desire, will be a revelation for some and an affirmation for others.The novel is dedicated to Tony Richardson, a noted film director who brought THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE to the screen In his memoir, Richardson wrote this about John Irving s fiction He seems to me to be one of the most original and towering of contemporary writers He is a born storyteller in the tradition of Fielding and Dickens, with, like them, an ability to see his characters from the outsideas well as depicting their feelings and passions physically from the outside.I predict that John s courage and the range of his universe will still be durable when many of his intellectually acclaimed rivals will have dwindled away I hope you will experience IN ONE PERSON as deeply as I have If you ve never read John Irving before, this novel is an entertaining and enriching way to begin If you ve read him before, welcome back You will once again marvel at the craft and imagination and probity of a great American writer.

  10. says:

    I can remember the first time I heard anything about John Irving I was in college, at a family reunion My Dad had two cousins, spinsters, sisters ,never been married In their 70 s They were in something called a bookclub This was the early 80s I d never heard of a bookclub What was that They were talking about the different books they had been reading in their club,and all their members were about their age Except this one girl as they called her Now considering their age this girl could have been 55 for all I knew These old ladies were charming, funny,and they had had a couple cocktails by now..This new girl had suggested this new book to read in the club called THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving These old girls were talking about how they tried to read this book,and it was filth, absolute filth I asked my mother for an ink pen,and a slip of paper which she dug out of her purse,and I wrote down the title and author, and slipped the paper in my pocket I thank these ladies for exposing me to Irving I got a paperback copy the following day at the shopping center,and began to read.hooked.big time I became an Irving fan right there I read his other books,and CIDERHOUSE RULES was a biggie for me I read a couple others,and wasn t as enad with those as his earlier works Then a goodreads buddy told me he was reading this one I had downloaded it onto my NOOK , when it first came out, but just hadn t gotten to it yettill yesterdayThe thing about Irving that I have liked is he isn t afraid to hit subjects that curl some people toes I like controversial books, subjects,and being open minded enough to read about subjects that might make me see a side of things I hadn t thought of before I may not agree with the subject matter, may not agree with the characters ideals, and I might be shocked at timesbut the shock what trips my trigger I also think Irving is drop dead honest,and honest about things many people just gloss over.11 years ago I started a bookclub We have read some things that might bother some people We read MIDDLESEX, which I think is a great book,and 2 of the members in the club flat out refused to read it due to its subject matter Such a shame they were that closed minded I think the same can be said about this novel Those people have no idea what they are missing For one thing, Irving is a great writer He weaves a tale that keep you guessing, keeps you glued to your chair, furiously reading..However, Irving deals with his subjects, his characters in honest, charming, hilarious, raw, open minded, and mind bending ways that many people can t handle I don t have a problem with it, because I try to be open minded,and willing to be challenged to think in different ways Irving s not afraid to hit on something that he knows will make some people seethe with anger,and yet others come away from his works with wow..hadn t thought about it that way His characters are real they speak their minds They are quirky yes, open, accessible, shocking, vulnerable, thought provoking and the list goes on I found in this novel that I cared about all the characters deeply I wanted them to be happy,and to be able to make heads or tails of their messy lives,and feel triumphant in their endeavors to live their lives the way they truly want, without someone trying to make them feel they are less of a person or feel judged for the choices they make.or things they feel Life is messy, and you have to cope.which is what I think Irving tries to say in all his works to make us thinkthink for ourselves to be bold to be not afraid to do what you feel is right.This novel will stick with me for a long time to comejust like GARP has and CIDERHOUSE RULES has I think I need to read THE PRAYERS OF OWEN MEANY I hear constantly that it s people s fav Irving novel I have an unread copy on my shelf For now my 3 tops are GARP, CIDER RULES, and ONE PERSON I read the whole book in less then 24 hours.and I got nothing accomplished It felt good to have John back in his game I couldn t put this one down.I think I am going to suggest we read THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP for my bookclub in 2015 We have our books chosen a year in advance Then maybe someone in the group will talk about that filth we readThank you Kath,and Helen for opening my eyes to filth, for opening my eyes to Irving

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