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Tuesday
Dec182012

Sorrow Floats...Now More Than Ever

Sorrow Floats.

That's a line from the John Irving novel The Hotel New Hampshire (one of my least favorite Irving novels in fact--it was written just after Garp--but it's a great line.  Sorrow was a dog).

In Last Night In Twisted River, a 12-year old Irving character mistakes a large woman his father is having sex with for a bear and kills her with a single blow to the temple with an eight inch skillet.

In Widow For One Year, two teenage boys die in such a tragic Colorado ski country accident that their mother can barely overcome her sorrow for the rest of her life.

I need not explain what happens to Garp or any number of charcters in that most famous of all Irving novels (who could ever forget the driveway scene).

With the publication of Irving's 13 novel, In One Person, I've decided to go back and reread (or re-reread) much of what John Irving has written.

His characters are never safe; they populate a world which is not kind to them; they die in the most unkind circumstances, rather too much to believe it seems at times.

I was thinking about this last Thursday night when I fell asleep only to turn the TV on the following morning to news out of NewTown, Connecticut.

Never again will I think of Irving's fiction as too fantastic to believe.

Nothing could be as fantastically horrid as what we experienced this past weekend.  No novelist could so sadden us with tales of woe.

I needed a can of cranberry sauce this afernoon, so I ducked into the new Market Basket across from the Verizon Center, the one where English seems to be spoken less than other languages, the one where I occasionally run into Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

In the produce aisle, I saw a mother wheeling two young children in a cart.  At the checkout counter, I saw another mother with two young children.

I teared up both times, thinking how wonderful it is that these children are safe.

How long will it be before we see children safely with their parents and think of all those children who weren't so safe?

Too long.

Sorrow floats!

Front Cover
Transworld, May 10, 2012 - 672 pages

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, a twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable's girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, pursued by the constable. Their lone protector

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