This is not my first John Irving book and it definitely won’t be my last! I am in awe of Irving’s ability to weave these complex narratives with characters whose depth simply overflows the pages of the text. This book was no exception.
Meet Jack Burns. Jack is raised by his mother, Alice, a tattoo artist. Jack’s recollections of his childhood are filled with a glowing appreciation of his mother and her quirkiness. What he doesn’t realise until later is that she has facilitated a lie and everything Jack thinks he knows about his absent father is false.
This is the root of the story which unfolds. However, what is most appealing about this book is characters and their neuroses – Jack, Alice, Jack’s friend Emma, Alice’s partner and all the other people who participate in the telling of this tale.
It wasn’t a quick read but it’s one that I am glad I completed.