Reviews of avenue of mysteries

6.61  ·  9,303 ratings  ·  117 reviews
reviews of avenue of mysteries

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

John Irving returns to the themes that established him as one of our most admired and beloved authors in this absorbing novel of fate and memory.
As we grow older—most of all, in what we remember and what we dream—we live in the past. Sometimes, we live more vividly in the past than in the present.

As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. “An aura of fate had marked him,” John Irving writes, of Juan Diego. “The chain of events, the links in our lives—what leads us where we’re going, the courses we follow to our ends, what we don’t see coming, and what we do—all this can be mysterious, or simply unseen, or even obvious.”

Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past—in Mexico—collides with his future.
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Published 22.05.2019

John Irving Interview

A picaresque tale about ageing and adventure, moving from Mexico to the Philippines, tackles the big questions with gusto and charm.
John Irving

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving review – dreaming the past into life

But there any easy comparisons end. Juan Diego had a relatively ordinary childhood, raised in Iowa City by a gay ex-Jesuit and his transgendered Mexican lover the adoptive parents die in the first wave of the AIDS epidemic. That is, except for the fact that before his adoption Juan Diego lived as a quasi-orphan in a Oaxacan dump, abandoned by his prostitute mother, who also cleaned for the local priests, and sporadically kept company with the dump master, who may or may not be his father. For a time he has his sister, Lupe, a mind reader whose speech impediment is so drastic that only Juan Diego can understand what she says, but she gets killed in her early teens by a circus lion. He also has a crippled foot from having been run over by a truck at the dump.

This, I think, is a very odd book. John Irving is a massively well-established author whose reach extends well beyond the simply literary with a backlist that includes The World According To Garp , The Cider House Rules and A Prayer For Owen Meany having entered popular awareness through film, critical acclaim and word of mouth. So Irving is not an esoteric author or even an esoteric man, famed as he is for his very down-to-earth wrestling exploits as well as his manipulation of words. He is, however, an author who, perhaps in keeping with his pugnacious exploits in the ring, likes to shock and to challenge, particularly in his treatment of sex and sexuality. Approaching a new novel by Irving, therefore, is to be prepared for the unexpected. And on that count Avenue Of Mysteries delivers.

One is Lopressor, a beta-blocker. They also make him lethargic and stunt his nighttime dreams. This being a John Irving novel, dreams are not to be stunted, nor are italics and exclamation points. The other is Viagra. This bomp will be required.

Profile: John Irving

Avenue of mysteries?, Juan Diego grows up with his sister, Lupe, on a rubbish dump in Mexico, looked after by a man — Rivera — who may or may not be the father of one or both of them.

Registered in Ireland: American writer John Irving may have spent a career juxtaposing novels with original screenplays, but now he has turned a film script into a novel, says Sue Leonard. And there, he found all the elements that had interested him about India, and a lot more besides. An imposing presence, with a piercing gaze, Irving talks slowly, as if weighing each word before he utters it. His sister Lupe was gifted and could read the minds of people and animals and she has visions of the future.

Clark was a world-changer; he wrote with a mission, a positive agenda. Clark French had no appreciation for dog-paddling or treading water; they were like living in the past, like going nowhere. Juan Diego lived there, in the past — reliving, in his imagination, the losses that had marked him. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….


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