|Last updated 7/6/2020.
A Prayer for Owen Meany
First Publication: March 1989
Category: novel with religious themes
Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):
About the Book:
From A Prayer for Owen Meany: “I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.” AZ
The seventh novel from John Irving “tells the story of John Wheelwright and his best friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small New Hampshire town during the 1950s and 1960s.” WK “In the summer of 1953, [the] two eleven-year-old boys…are playing in a Little League baseball game.” AZ Owen hits a foul ball which kills John’s mother. Owen “doesn’t believe in accidents; …[he] believes he is God’s instrument. What happens…after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.” AZ
“The novel is also a homage to Günter Grass’ most famous novel, The Tin Drum. Grass was a great influence for John Irving, as well as a close friend. The main characters of both novels, Owen Meany and Oskar Matzerath, share the same initials as well as some other characteristics, and their stories show some parallels. Irving has confirmed the similarities. A Prayer for Owen Meany, however, follows an independent and separate plot.” WK
“The novel deals with serious spiritual issues, such as the importance of faith, matters of social justice, and the concept of fate.” WK “John and Owen both offer criticisms of organized religion and religious hypocrisy,” WK but Owen “is quite certain that he will die because he is an ‘instrument of God’ and thus will serve some good and important purpose.” WK
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