Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel (Paperback)

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Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel By John Irving Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Different story---same John Irving, a master storyteller with a quirky tale of lumbering in northern New Hampshire with characters so peculiar and allluring that I will remember them forever. There is an autobiographical element in this book and, yes, a bear. This is a return to the Irving of old---I had all but given up on him, but this story takes you on such an incredible journey in time, place, and substance that you will shirk work and postpone play to keep reading. If Ketchum doesn't make your heart sing, you should see a cardiologist.


— From Dana

November 2009 Indie Next List

“Daniel's life takes some wicked-bad twists starting at the tender age of 12, when, mistaking his father's lover for a bear, he accidentally kills the woman with a cast iron skillet. His unfortunate mistake lands him and his father on the lam from the woman's boyfriend, who has a taste for revenge. John Irving creates marvelously quirky, memorable characters, and, like all his books, Last Night in Twisted River is full of razor-sharp wit and beautiful writing.”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR


In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County—to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto—pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them. In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River depicts the recent half-century in the United States as “a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course.” What further distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author’s unmistakable voice—the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller.

About the Author

John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules—a film with seven Academy Award nominations.

Praise For…

“Absolutely unmissable . . . [A] big-hearted, brilliantly written and superbly realized intergenerational tale of a father and son.”—Financial Times
“Engrossing . . . Irving’s sentences and paragraphs are assembled with the skill and attention to detail of a master craftsman creating a dazzling piece of jewelry from hundreds of tiny, bright stones.”—Houston Chronicle

“There’s plenty of evidence in Irving’s agility as a writer in Last Night in Twisted River. . . . some of the comic moments are among the most memorable that Irving has written.”—New York Times

“A rich and evocative story.”—Washington Post
Product Details
ISBN: 9780345479730
ISBN-10: 0345479734
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: June 15th, 2010
Pages: 592
Language: English