“- Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” – Frederick Buechner
A Prayer for Owen Meany, published in 1989, was John Irving’s seventh novel. He had already experienced great success with his fourth novel; The World According to Garp, and has had nine international bestsellers. A Prayer for Owen Meany won over everyone who read it, and received incredible praise among his fellow authors. Stephen King said of Irving’s seventh novel “John Irving, who writes novels in the unglamorous but effective way Babe Ruth used to hit home runs, deserves a medal not only for writing this book but for the way he has written it… A Prayer for Owen Meany is a rare creation in the somehow exhausted world of late twentieth-century fiction—it is an amazingly brave piece of work… So extraordinary, so original, and so enriching… Readers will come to the end feeling sorry to leave [this] richly textured and carefully wrought world.” On the very first page of the novel, John states that Owen is the reason that he is a Christian, and his effect on John’s faith is simple: Owen’s life is what you’d call a miracle. From a young age he has supernatural visions and dreams, and honestly believes that he is God’s instrument. He has troubling foreknowledge of his own death—and gives almost undeniable evidence of God’s existence. In his seventh novel, Irving gives human structure to the unexplainable.
Like most of the novels that Irving has penned in his career, A Prayer for Owen Meany takes place in New England. The book is set in the fictional town of Gravesend, New Hampshire, which is based on the real town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Likewise, the preparatory school that John and Owen attend, Gravesend Academy, is based off of the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. Although in the beginning...
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