Customer Reviews for

Last Night in Twisted River

Average Rating 3.5
( 272 )
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(82)

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(60)

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(39)

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(21)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

This is a truly satisfying read!

I loved every word of this wonderful saga; not only the finely crafted story and the loveable, flawed characters, but the sound of it, the voice, the phrasing and cadence. The language carries us through improbable events and across the decades. By the writer's device...
I loved every word of this wonderful saga; not only the finely crafted story and the loveable, flawed characters, but the sound of it, the voice, the phrasing and cadence. The language carries us through improbable events and across the decades. By the writer's device and the lives of his characters we experience love and joy, sorrow and regret, fear and loneliness. Irving's grim humor lets us laugh at the capriciousness of fate and our own folly. In the face of overwhelming loss, right beside our fictional heros, we continue to live and work and accept our circumstance. In the end we find hope and redemption. What more can you ask for in a novel? The tale is perfection.

posted by SoCal_Reader on November 23, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

How can you review a book before you have even read it ???

Geesh, I wish people would stop writing reviews and rating books when they haven't even read the book yet. Those reviews do not help me at all in deciding whether I want to read the book or not.

posted by Jane-O on August 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a truly satisfying read!

    I loved every word of this wonderful saga; not only the finely crafted story and the loveable, flawed characters, but the sound of it, the voice, the phrasing and cadence. The language carries us through improbable events and across the decades. By the writer's device and the lives of his characters we experience love and joy, sorrow and regret, fear and loneliness. Irving's grim humor lets us laugh at the capriciousness of fate and our own folly. In the face of overwhelming loss, right beside our fictional heros, we continue to live and work and accept our circumstance. In the end we find hope and redemption. What more can you ask for in a novel? The tale is perfection.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I loved Garp, Owen Meaney, and Son of the Circus-- This is the Kings new Clothes

    I feel like I have been sucker-punched. I get repeating themes and I have always appreciated it in Irving's writing. This feels like some creative writing assignment gone awry "How many of these themes can you get into 500+ pages?". I think Irving's time has past- Irving is a caricature of himself- terrible book.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Irving fan or not, don't waste your time with this one.

    I noticed on the cover of this novel that the author's name is most predominant, which was the reason I and many other John Irving fans (I presume) selected this book. After reading it however, that very same reason may keep many fans of Irving (and new readers who tried this one) from ever selecting one of his novels again.

    Unlike others who threw in the towel early, I did read the entire book only out of respect for Mr. Irving's previous work (I resorted to skimming the last few chapters out of respect for myself). But I found myself constantly struggling "not" to put this one down for good. It is quite possibly one of the worst novels I have ever read.

    Best described, "Last Night at Twisted River" is part cookbook, part political rant (mindless liberal hatred of G.W Bush and general vitriol towards conservatives), and most of all rehashing old ideas - deranged bears, teen's death while driving on a snow covered highway, loss of a hand, an adolescent's infatuation with an older woman, and (believe it or not) even a tragic accident in the midst of receiving fellatio. To make matters worse, not a single character had any redeeming qualities at all.

    For Irving's sake, this novel is completely forgettable (if not for how bad it is). I still highly recommend his old work for those unfamiliar with him, but as his last few novels have shown, he has sadly lost some of his gift for story telling. That may be enough to keep some fans interested, but in my opinion, this novel was a complete waste of time.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    The thing I love most about this book is that it creates interest for me, rather than tension. It doesn't need to keep you on the edge of the seat to keep you there

    This is a tale of tragedy, loss, love and friendship. John Irving has a knack for making the outlandish and the horrific, the extraordinary and the traumatic, seem mundane. Even the most awful moments are reduced to a matter of fact ordinariness.
    I thought that the characters in Last Night At Twisted River, seemed naïve and stuck in a time frame which seemed to have more in common with the days of the wild West in the 1800's, with its lawlessness, than the 50's in New Hampshire. Their backwoods mentality stays with them even as they move to more cosmopolitan locations and their naivete and/or inability to fit in or anticipate the dangers of their world, seems to govern their lives.
    For me all of the dysfunctional characters became more endearing as the book progressed, even as some events and coincidences become stranger and stranger. They are not lucky in love or in life, though, hard as they try. There always seemed to be a cloud of disaster following all of them. Even the short fused, illiterate, at first, Paul Bunyanesque character of Ketchum, (a logger with a mouth like trash, who insists on saying whatever he likes, in whatever manner he likes, regardless of where he is), becomes more and more lovable as he ages, although his old age does not soften him and he becomes even more recalcitrant.
    The story takes place over a period of 60 + years and three generations. The meat of it pretty much begins and ends with the tale of a bear and a hand. An accidental murder propels the main characters into a world of constant fear and running, trying to escape the wrath of Carl, the constable of Twisted River. Fear of being caught forces them to relocate many times when they are accidentally discovered. They are not afraid of being caught by the law, primarily but rather by the corrupt constable from Twisted River, who is hell bent on revenge for the murder of his lover, Injun Jane, whom he has abused in the past and at first thought he had killed, in a drunken stupor. He is an abusive beast of a man who uses his extraordinary size and strength to often take the law into his own hands meting out punishment as he chooses, which basically means in Twisted River, he is the uncontested law of the land. No one wants to cross him except perhaps, Ketchum, the recalcitrant logger who is Dominick Baciagalupo and his son's dearest friend and protector.
    Dominick, a cook, is a gentle man with an identifying limp. He is devoted totally to his son Daniel who is a thoughtful, well spoken obedient young man, who accidentally kills Injun Jane whom he adores, when he is a child. He mistakes her for a bear when he catches his dad and her in a compromising situation. He has awakened from sleep and the sounds he heard, coupled with her size and massive bulk and her unusually long hair, made him panic. He hits her with a skillet, rumored to have been used to strike and frighten a bear attacking his mother, Rosie. He believes this time that it is his father under attack. That incident begins their life on the run.
    Tragedy follows this family from the first. Although they keep starting over someplace new, each time they settle in, they are somehow coincidentally discovered and are forced to move on again. The peaceful life eludes them while tragedy continues to chase them.
    Although it may take about 50 pages to get into the story don't give up. As the book continues, it gets better and better except for the political bias. It was unnecessary.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Back to what works best!

    Ahhhhh......it's so nice to read a good Irving book again. It's been a while since I started one of his books and was drawn in. Very reminiscent of A Prayer for Owen Meany and Cider House Rules. I'm less than 100 pages in and loving every page. Cheers to you Mr. Irving for giving us another wonderful novel.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    Great story, some annoying characters, unforgivable political screed

    I enjoyed 420 pages of this book, then I started hitting something I have never seen before in an Irving novel: polarizing political diatribes. I for one don't want to hear the same old liberal shibboleths about recent elections, even if spoken by a "character". If Daniel Baciagalupo is so apolitical, why does his love for John Kerry advance the story? Even as controversial as The Cider House Rules were, the explosive issues of abortion were handled sensitively and gently by Irving. I enjoyed the latter story even though I am firmly pro-life myself. How are these fictional events furthered by dragging out the same personal attacks on certain politicians and those who happen to agree with them? It's disappointing, but I'll have to watch reviews on future Irving books more carefully before I buy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Bad

    I love John Irving and I think he is a great writer, however, this book was not his best. The beginning and end were the best parts but the middle became tedious to get through. Some of his content was very political and he touched on things like the Vietnam War and September 11th. If you are a John Irving fan, it is worth reading because of how great of a writer he is but some who have not read him before might find it boring and too long.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I agree with the first comment!

    I agree that John Irving is a wonderful writer and anything he writes is bound to be good. Once I find a writer I like, I will read everything they publish!

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    John Irving: Last Night

    I've been a great Irving fan since his first novel, Setting Free The Bears, when I was one of about 4,000 people who might have read that book. I've enjoyed all of his books since (that I've read) until this one, that just feels like it was written into a tape recorder.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2009

    I loved the repeated themes

    This book was good; not John's best, but an excellent read. I think my favorite aspect of the book was Mr. Irving's repeated themes. I really feel like I know the author through the themes he uses from novel to novel. The characters are excellent; each with truly distinct personalities. The plot also excellent - not too out there, but not too "in there" either. If you're a John Irving fan, it is, of course, a must read. If you've never read any of the author's novels, I would start with a different one, then move to this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    If it follows his previous offerings it will be a 5 star

    I came across John Irving back in 1984 while visiting my husband's cousin in Ohio. It was truly a man's weekend so I sat in the house reading and found The Hotel New Hampshire. Well, the husband is now an ex but I still love John Irving!

    2 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2010

    Skip over this 'River'

    It's an inter-generational tale told in John Irving's own style ... absurd, sexual, and twisted. But there's little redemption to be found in this tale; it's just twisted enough to be gross and not worth reading. Worse yet, the book just goes on and on...an inter-generational tale doesn't have to be this way! I read two-thirds of the book and then skipped to the last chapter where it's obvious how everything has ended up and not a whole lot of surprises there, either.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    My least favorite John Irving to date

    I have always loved John Irving's writing but this book fell short of what I've come to expect from him. I felt as though he rambled and went off in 10 different directions about 2/3 of the way through the book. I completely lost interest and really had to struggle to finish it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    John Irving at 90% is better than others at 100%

    This is a very good book. It is one of Irvings better efforts. It is long and typically Irving in its twists and seemingly unrelated events that eventually converge in tragedy, loss and acceptance.
    It's a good story, but I believe it will be judged to be in the second tier of his works, behind Cider House Rules, World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany. This falls into the "Widow for One Year" group - loved by some, disappointing to others. I personally wouldn't classify this as disappointing, but this book does seem to fall a little short of Irving's A list. Read it and decide for yourself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Irving is an American Great!

    Irving still has it. This novel is reminiscent of Garp. To say Irving is past his prime is ignorant, un-American and wrong :) OK, so I'm a little taken by John Irving's literature; how could I not Be? READ THIS BOOK!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

    Just listened to his comments on this new book. My daughter introduced me to Mr. Irving's very unique style many years ago and I admit it took me a few years to really delve into his writings. My one objection has always been to the difficult names he uses in his novels. And, they are prolific and unpronounceable. And, I cannot skip over these names, just isn't my style of reading, picture me laughing here. Other than that, I find his books to be real treasures and his comments always inciteful. I will never forget seeing him on a panel, on the internet, when he did a passage from "A Prayer For Owen Meany." Hysterical, I am still laughing. He was on with Stephen King, whom I have never been able to read due to the graphic content of his books, but he, also was hysterical. The one book I have read and own, of Mr. King's is "On Writing," his explanation of how he became the writer he is. Fabulous.
    Please, Mr. Irving, keep 'em coming. You are one in a million and I do so enjoy your tomes. Herman Melville, on the other hand, not so much.
    I look forward to the unique experience of reading your new book, and owning it, also. Probably will give to said daughter for Christmas.
    Thank you and God Bless.

    Teculah

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Irving is Incredible

    John Irving has written my favorite books of all time, The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany. His other books are great as well. I am sure this will be another fantastic story.

    1 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Time to get my fix!

    Like a dried out alcoholic, stranded on a deserted island who learns that that the Budweiser tanker has just crashed into his island- I am drunk with anticipation to read the new John Irving novel! This is the cycle of emotions that happens every time he writes a new book: I eagerly await and count down the days until it is released. Then I savor every page and I'm on cloud nine while living with the novel until unfortunately, like all good things it must end. Finally, I wait 2,3, maybe 4 years until his next masterpiece, moping around and reading subsititues that never live up to the greatness of John Irving. Let the new cycle begin- Oct 27th can't come soon enough!!

    1 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Oh God, please let me live to read this book. I'll be counting the days.

    Irving is a national treasure. If you haven't read this author- start! Let Owen Meany reel you in and I promise you'll keep wanting more.

    1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Another good read from John Irving

    Anicetale from John Irving. Not as good as The World According to Garp, but still an interesting tale filked with humor and tragedy.

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