This novel follows the highlights and troughs in the life of Patrick Wallingford, a journalist working for a trashy 24 hour TV news station Whilst covering a story in India, he gets one of his hands bitten off by a circus lion A surgeon shows interest in trying a hand transplant, and shortly after this Doris Clausen, a newly widowed woman who saw the lion episode on television, offers one of her husband s hands for the operation.on the condition she can have visiting rights to see the hand after the transplant Wallingford has always been hugely attractive to women, and keeps falling mindlessly into bed with them His life as a rather gormless libertine is disrupted by the entry of Mrs Clausen into his life.Whilst I liked the eccentric storyline in the book, I never felt any great emotion towards any of the characters The parts I enjoyed most were the descriptions of the news station the politics, the scheming, and the laying bare of the shallow nastiness of its journalism But that wasn t nearly enough to keep me hooked.This is my first John Irving book though, and what I have picked up on is the vast wave of admiration that thousands of people feel for his writing Many people describe him as their favourite author I shall have to read another of his books and see how I get on with that. It pains me, LITERALLY PAINS ME, to give a John Irving novel anything less than 4 stars He is among my favorite living authors, and I typically wholeheartedly enjoy the stories he tells and the vivid characters he creates But this one well, it just fell flat for me I could not relate to or care about any of the characters, the storyline was rather blah, and while I truly truly love him, Irving s writing STYLE and voice aren t visual music for me the way Nicole Krauss or Marianne Wiggins are so that couldn t save this book either Put all that together, and I have to say that the book was just okay Honestly, if it was written by someone other than J.I., I probably would have given it 3 stars, but John, I hold you to a higher standard. Jurnalis TV Patrick Wallingford Malah Menjadi Sumber Berita Ketika Kehilangan Tangan Karena Digigit Singa Di India Peristiwa Itu Sempat Meramaikan Berita TV Beberapa Lama Patrick Bahkan Mendapat Julukan The Lion Guy Tak Perlu Waktu Lama, Patrick Mendapat Tawaran Untuk Menjalani Operasi Transplantasi RinganDr Nicholas M Zajac, Dokter Bedah Tangan Yang Sangat Cerdas, Yang Memberi Tawaran Itu Meskipun Dr Zajac Tidak Punya Maksud Apa Pun Selain Menolong Patrick, Tapi Teman Teman Sejawatnya Malah Menjauhi Dokter Aneh Yang Sering Salah Tingkah Itu Karena Menganggapnya Mencari Popularitas BelakaDr Zajac Segera Mendapat Donor Untuk Patrick Donor Itu Tangan Otto Clausen Yang Tak Sengaja Bunuh Diri Dalam Truk Birnya Di Green Bay Masalahnya, Janda Otto, Doris Clausen Ingin Bertemu Dengan Patrick Sebelum Operasi, Juga Menuntut Hak Kunjung Bagi Tangan SuaminyaHubungan Mereka Berkembang Dengan Aneh Masing Masing Memiliki Obsesi Yang Ajaib, Tapi Akhirnya Mereka Harus Saling Membantu Memberi Keberanian Menghadapi Kesempatan Kedua Dan Kekuatan Untuk Berubah While at work on the massive tome that became Until I Find You, John Irving took a break to work on the comedic and relatively short novel, The Fourth Hand Irving began it hoping it would be his first comedy since The Water Method Man The Fourth Hand is quite funny, especially in the earlier chapters, but it ends up growing out of its original intentions by the end, you re not reading a comedy It s not a sad book, but it is bittersweet in a way that will be familiar to John Irving fans Patrick Wallingford is a television correspondent for a television network known as the disaster channel While filming a segment about a bizarre and tragic accident at a circus, Patrick s hand is devoured by a lion Following the event, which is shown endlessly on television, he becomes known as the lion guy, and becomes muchfamous than he ever was before, ending up a news anchor But Patrick is a shallow, womanizing little shit, and is good looking enough to get away with it A man from Wisconsin agrees to donate his hand to Patrick in the case of his death Then, through a bizarre accident, the man dies Patrick inherits the man s hand, and falls in love with the man s wife who doesn t love him This unrequited love causes Patrick to begin reevaluating his own life Personally, I ve never known any guys who have this easy of a time getting poontang It seems like every time Patrick turns around, some hottie is dropping her panties I m not sure whether a feminist reading of this book would find John Irving in contempt or not But, it seems to me that we re SUPPOSED to see Patrick as a prick for most of the novelso is all of this womanizing acceptable Personally, I wasn t blown away by any of the female characters here, not even the woman he falls for, and my favorite was the gum chewing ho who did Patrick s makeup I mention all of this because I was mildly distracted throughout by the treatment of women, and how shallow it often felt So, if that s something that often gets you up in arms, you probably won t enjoy this book as much as you would many of Irving s other works This is definitely worth reading for any Irving fan If you haven t read anything yet by him, I wouldn t start here track down a copy of The World According to Garp or A Prayer For Owen Meany This book is good because it s John Irving weaving a fun and bizarre tapestry like he always does You know how Iron Wine songs are always good because they always sound like Iron Wine Same principal here The extra incentive here is the fact that this book iscontinuously funny than usual, and this might be Irving s only novel where he doesn t try and tell the entire story of the main character s life The whole story focuses on five or so years for the main characters So, read it if you re moved to do so Or don t Yeah, I never know how to end these reviews I could end it with a tacky joke about giving a HAND to John Irving, but that would be lame, wouldn t it This is a really enjoyable and quick novel, despite all the shitty reviews it got. This story, with all its unlikely characters and the attendant twists and turns, has John Irving s mark all over it John Irving is with out a doubt, my favorite living American writer It therefore comes as no surprise that I would find this book enjoyable For me, the characters are believable and their stories come together to reveal the intricacies that tie them all to one another Patrick Wallingford is a sympathetic enough character in that his initial shallowness makes him someone whom I would like to see get his comeuppances However, the accident which he had a hand in pardon the pun proves to be a point of embarkation where he realizes that such a devastating loss leads to immeasurable rewards I found the back story about the faux news network to be particularly apropos because Irving was able to project an absurd sense of reality to an otherwise inane albeit acceptable genre of entertainment in American culture today news Mary Shannahan s character was someone who I loved to hate not so much because of her gender but because of her ceaseless, raw ambition which defies everything her television personality puts forward It is a matter of image versus substance the entire theme of this book who we are as opposed to who we want people to believe that we are For anyone who feels jaded by what comes across as news nowadays, this is definitely a book for you For those who fail to see the irony in news which really isn t this may not be the book for you Such critics of this story who point to the unbelievability of such a story as, The Fourth Hand, are likely to pan it because, The Fourth Hand fails to follow a prescribed scriptakin to what can be routinely found on any given cable news channel Ignore the naysayers and read the book It is good and stands on its own.As an aside, I ll definitely be picking up, The English Patient, and Stewart Little the two books Irving mentioned in this story I enjoy picking up on the ongoing side bar commentary he seems to offer to anyone who is paying enough attention to what he has to say aside from the obvious story line in his other books His delivery is subtle and unmistakably John Irving I suppose this why I enjoy his writing so much. I just finished reading John Irving s The Fourth Hand While it is worth noting that I have previously read both The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany, found each to be better than The Fourth Hand, and recommend that you read both, The Fourth Hand is especially significant today two days after the Virginia Tech shooting The Fourth Hand is a story that follows a cad of a television field reporter who loses his left hand to an Indian circus lion while on an assignment The reporter, Patrick Wallingford, later falls in love with the widow of his hand transplant donor The book has fewer layers than Garp or A Prayer for Owen Meany, and is without the adroit literary architecture present in most of Irving s work However, its commentary on the era of sensationalist all news networks and their exploitation of national tragedies is particularly pertinent this week.The following is from a Facebook group, posted by a news outlet on Monday Hi everyone My name is Karen Park I am working with Tokyo Broadcasting System TBS in New York City We are looking for korean people from VT who knew Mr Cho personally, had a class with him, was his roommate in previous years, etc We would also like to know if anybody has any photographs or video clips of him or with him We are interested in only showing his face and so we will blot out the faces of other people in the photographs.Lastly, if anyone is willing to do a brief on camera interview with one of our correspondents in Virginia or a telephone interview, please call us immediately On Monday night, Brian Williams did the NBC Nightly News broadcast from the Hokie campus in Blacksburg Tucker Carlson, MSNBC s chief political pundit, was also there Hoards of reporters have descended on Blacksburg, looking for the he kept to himself sound bytes and B roll of the hysterical, sobbing friends of victims ESPN is reporting on the canceled Hokie spring game and how the innocence of college sports will bring us back together Even the all sports news network struck gold you realize there are 32 people who aren t walking down to the football game In The Fourth Hand, Wallingford is at the anchor desk the week of JFK Jr s plane crash over Martha s Vineyard He curses both the local news and all news networks for taking telephoto shots of the victims friends and family, and the networks proclivity to stretch a tragic story into a multi week feeding frenzy Wallingford would chastise Brian Williams for his reporting with all the gravitas and feigned verisimilitude of having been in the classroom with the victims, and the way the press will scrutinize the writings of Cho Seung Hui and opine that someone should have seen it coming The Fourth Hand is about a man who loses his hand and finds his soul Needless to say, it is a work of fiction Our aggressive all news culture will ride the Virginia Tech story like they did Imus and Duke and Anna Nicole Smith they will be relentless There are 28,000 students at Virginia Tech and, by the end of this week, each will have been solicited for an on camera interview, photographs of Cho Seung Hui andinformation about the thirty two victims On the fourth or fifth day of non stop reporting following Kennedy s plane crash, Wallingford sits in the anchor s chair watching with millions of viewers worldwide a network montage of Kennedy Jr s life The montage ends with the image of John John saluting his father s funeral procession and the camera is back on Wallingford In lieu of his usual signoff Goodnight, Doris Goodnight, my little Otto Wallingford says, Let s hope that s the end of it. Ex Bookworm group review I mentioned in my review reminder that I was reading this book for the second time because I had read it on holiday and couldn t remember anything about it As I have re read the first hundred pages or so, I ve come to the realisation that I still won t remember that much about it because it isn t really about anything or not anything I care about, anyway.My biggest problem with the book is that it just tries too damn hard to be clever and funny and, I suppose, Irvingesque Irving is a bit of a legend in his own lifetime and clearly he himself has been completely taken in by the hype This isn t really fair, I know, but the picture of the author on the inside front cover irritated the hell out of me, being something of a pin up that seems to demand us not only hanging on his every word because he s a truly great American author must be, says so on the back cover , but thinking him a bit of a hunk as well I just thought he looked smug.I found some of the screamingly funny parts of the book completely unfunny The constant references to the three named doorman who mistook Wallingford for some sort of ball player baseball left my sides decidedly unsplit Obviously my problem, because everyone knows just how original and funny John Irving is, everyone says so, therefore as an old boyfriend often used to tell me when I failed to be amused by things that amused him I have NO SENSE OF HUMOUR I found it impossible to care about most of the characters I felt no sympathy for Wallingford when the lions snacked on his left hand and no joy when his love for Doris was finally consummated no, Ray, I didn t forget about the earlier sex, but it was only a metaphor I tried to relate to the characters in an allegorical sense, but I couldn t for the life of me imagine what they were an allegory for should that be of I read somewhere about redemptive love either on the cover, or in a review somewhere but redeem a cardboard cut out and it s still a cardboard cut out If there was redemptive love in the book, I didn t find it where I think I was supposed to, but I did find it in the parts of the book about Dr Zajac and his son, Rudy I found their relationship moving and human and I cared enough about them to wish them well Their part of the book was warm and actually funny The dog turd lacrosse did make me laugh and was inventive and clever, but stuck out like an iceberg in an otherwise running sea.This wasn t a bad book, by any means It was competently written, the plot hung together, there were some neat turns of phrase I ve got to the age where life is too short to read crap books to the end, but I never thought of not finishing this one Maybe the problem was my expections as I had the constant sense that the book was not good enough I remember The World According to Garp as being startlingly original and a really fun read, but I suspect this one won t stay in my memory for very long, dog turd lacrosse and all.Apparently this book was engendered by the author s wife, Janet, asking the inspiring question What if the donor s widow demands visitation rights with the hand I guess if John Irving is going to write better books, he s going to have to get a new wife For the standard that is John Irving, this book was so disappointing I don t think he had much of a story and was depending on his characteristic literary traits to hold the story together, but unfortunately it backfired and instead of sustaining a mediocre story, turned all the things I loved about him into clich s and far stretched half baked ideas Do not judge Irving by this book, he is so much better than this On John Irving, I have six thoughts 1 He always seems to have a discombobulated male as his central character, Garp, the narrator in A Prayer for Owen Meany, the dad in The Hotel New Hampshire, and the young orphan in The Cider House Rules They can be clueless, happy go lucky, confused, aimless, grief stricken 2 There is also always some intriguing but slightly distant female.3 Irving loves the little bits of weirdness, like the woman in the bear costume in The Hotel New Hampshire.4 Irving also loves those moments of sweetness, to the point that they can become syrupy at times, like at the end of Owen Meany.5 He writes very clean sentences they re amazingly adept and easy to read.6 Still, his little inventions often strain my suspension of disbelief.All of these are true for The Fourth Hand Patrick Wallingford is a cavalier reporter for a sensational news channel He trots the globe covering disasters and small tragedies for the spectacle obsessed audience In each port, he panders his cavalier, sleeping with women without forethought or remorse Then he loses his left hand in a lion accident No spoilers it happens in the first few pages.Dr Zajac is a minor character, but he is the opposite of Patrick He s too distant, too thoughtful, very analytical, and even clueless He s a hand surgeon who hopes to utilize Patrick s accident to make the first successful hand transplant.Doris lost her husband, a man she loved very much they agreed that if the opportunity should ever arise, they d donate their hand to Patrick who became famous because his accident was caught on camera Though Doris is sad at never having a child with her husband, and she is now grief stricken, she insists on meeting Patrick and Dr Zajac to make sure her hubby s hand is going to a deserving person.Love is going to find all these characters, even in their extreme circumstances The main story here is how falling in love helps transform Patrick from a brainless, pretty lothario to someone who wants to be upstanding and responsible The main question is whether he s changed drastically and soon enough to deserve Doris, a grief stricken woman whose husband s hand Patrick now possesses.Now to my six points 1 Patrick s journey is worthy as long as everyone recognizes that he is not always the most engaging, sympathetic character He s pretty shallow, in fact I feel Irving spent too much time with Patrick, given that the man is basically a handsome but thoughtless cad Dr Zajac is also a bit of an automaton, but Irving seems to have spent the exact right amount of time with his story We get the comparisons to Patrick If Patrick s story had been shortened to seemeven to Dr Zajac s and Doris , I would ve been OK with that.2 Doris yes, I wish I d known muchWhat does her obsession with football mean How does it define her, her relationship with her husband, her connection to his family How does her day to day life look, especially grief stricken, especially jobless and with new responsibilities How will she ever prepare herself to move on, to make room for another relationship in her life In many ways, she purposely chooses to believe certain mythologies and lies why A fewchapters with her back story would ve pleased me Her story is the shortest of the three main characters, and I feel that s deeply unfair to her character and to the readers.3 and 6 Yes, I know I m going out of order So, yeah, there is weirdness here Actually the lion attack was believable, and even the hand transplant has some fact behind it However, the strained little lies that characters tell themselves and each other were a littleproblematic I often doubted people s intentions, and I felt that others acted fairly gullibly at times I felt that outspoken characters would ve beenblunt, less accepting.4 This novel is one of Irving s quieter, sweeter novels, even with the lion attack at the beginning That should make itsaccharine, but I found that Irving did an even job with the romance and relationship portion except, of course, what I mentioned earlier about people trusting others and not speaking up enough 5 There is something so breezy about the way Irving writes that I didn t feel I d read almost 300 pages It s a simple, effective approach I wish other writers including myself knew how to mimic.So, that s why this is only a good but not great novel, even though I feel that Irving is one of our best living writers.
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
- 368 pages
- The Fourth Hand
- John Irving
- 03 February 2019 John Irving