In One Person

A Novel

Irving, John

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
In One Person
"My dear boy, please don't put a label on me - don't make me a category before you get to know me!" John Irving's new novel is a glorious ode to sexual difference, a poignant story of a life that no reader will be able to forget, a book that no one else could have written. Told with the panache and assurance of a master storyteller, In One Person takes the reader along a dizzying path: from a private school in Vermont in the 1950s to the gay bars of Madrid's Chueca district, from the Vienna State Opera to the wrestling mat at the New York Athletic Club. It takes in the ways that cross-dressing passes from one generation to the next in a family, the trouble with amateur performances of Ibsen, and what happens if you fall in love at first sight while reading Madame Bovary on a troop transport ship, in the middle of an Atlantic storm. For the sheer pleasure of the tale, there is no writer alive as entertaining and enthralling as John Irving at his best. But this is also a heartfelt, intimate book about one person, a novelist named William Francis Dean. By his side as he tells his own story, we follow Billy on a fifty-year journey toward himself, meeting some uniquely unconventional characters along the way. For all his long and short relationships with both men and women, Billy remains somehow alone, never quite able to fit into society's neat categories. And as Billy searches for the truth about himself, In One Person grows into an unforgettable call for compassion in a world marked by failures of love and failures of understanding. Utterly contemporary and topical in its themes, In One Person is one of John Irving's most political novels. It is a book that grapples with the mysteries of identity and the multiple tragedies of the AIDS epidemic, a book about everything that has changed in our sexual life over the last fifty years and everything that still needs to. It's also one of Irving's most sincere and human novels, a book imbued on every page with a spirit of openness that expands and challenges the reader's world. A brand new story in a grand old tradition, In One Person stands out as one of John Irving's finest works - and as such, one of the best and most important American books of the last four decades.

Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, c2012.
ISBN: 9780307361783
Characteristics: 425 p. ;,24 cm.


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Nov 11, 2014
  • Merryfeather rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This might be the best Irving I have read yet. He takes on transsexuality and does a wonderful job of it. As with all of his novels that I have read, his regard for sexuality of all kinds is frank and honest.

Sep 15, 2013
  • mymaewest rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fabulous book!

Sep 09, 2013
  • archiedog1 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

An interesting read to say the least. I found myself drawn into the story the more I read. Your attachment to the main character evolves as the story does. Definitely the kind of book that you either love or hate.

May 15, 2013

I read this as a book club choice. If I hadn't had to read it I would have given up after the first few chapters. Very hard to follow as his stories switch from one era to another within the same paragraphs. Also found the ending very dissapointing. If I was asked what the plot of the story was, I would have to say, not sure. If this had been an autobiography I wouldn't have expected a plot but it wasn't. By the way, this was the general opinion of the 8 other members of our book club.

Apr 13, 2013
  • esk1033 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I just finished reading IN ONE PERSON.
I find Irving`s characters quirky and interesting. His characters intertwine with great detail and colour. I loved Billy`s relationship with Elaine. They were on a plain most people can`t or refuse to achieve. I just wanted Kitteridge in their relationship shown more. Loved this book!!

Mar 12, 2013
  • Lauren31 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

What can you say about any of John Irving's books? A master story-teller, and In One Person is no exception. It reads like a memoir, even though you know it's not. The storylines had me in tears more than once, for the complex relationships and the what-ifs. My one (small) disappointment is that I found the storylines wrapped up a little to easily at the end - everything works out and you're not left wondering.

Feb 26, 2013

John Irving's <i>In One Person</i> reads more like a fictionalized memoire than a novel, more like a fictionalized plea for the understanding and tolerance of LGBT individuals than a story. The protagonist (with a G father and cross-dressing maternal grandfather) grows up B in the 50's and 60's and frankly exhibits an amazing lack of self-doubt and angst, suffers a surprising minimum of violence or humiliation, encounters an incredible network of others with gender conflicts, and enjoys a most fortunate economic and social standing in his small New England community. Perhaps the greatest joy in this work is the reappearance of Roberta Muldoon from <i>The World According to Garp<i/> reincarnated here as Miss Frost. That cameo and its unfortunately brief story line did hold my interest and to some extent made this book worth wading through.

Jan 29, 2013
  • jdaigle3 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I picked this book up on the basis of it being fairly new and having seen it in many peoples hands. That said, it was nothing like what I expected. It seemed quite a circular book. It felt like it was the author making up a story about how he got to the point that he was writing this book. Still, I could not seem to put in down because there was always something happening and I had to see how it worked out only then something else would happen.

Jan 06, 2013

i agree; i really tried to get into this book but it was too slow; predictable plot.

Nov 28, 2012
  • lstaehling rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Really tried with this one but kept getting bogged down.Loved his early books.Think he has become a very self indulgent writer.

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