Read Das Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving Free Online
Book Title: Das Hotel New Hampshire|
The author of the book: John Irving
ISBN 13: 9783937793092
Edition: Süddeutsche Zeitung
Date of issue: May 22nd 2004
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 522 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1171 times
Reader ratings: 4.6
Read full description of the books:
If you haven't read Irving yet, I think you should give him a try. This novel isn't one of his "big three", but it's damn good.
First off, most Irving novels have some general characteristics:
- They typically have a Dickensian plot, in which you follow the characters through large portions of their lives. The breadth of the novel typically goes through one generational span, but often you'll get (at least) a few beginning chapters detailing the lives of the protagonist's parents or grandparents, as well.
- Irving writes of these lives through story telling.
- He wants his readers to really get to know his characters. I've never read an Irving novel that didn't have, in my judgment, superb character development. Characters from Irving novels I read years ago still leap out at me; I still feel they are real, and that I know them. I have a love for them.
- Irving rarely describes the internalized thoughts and emotions of his characters. Instead he gives the reader insight into their personalities through their reactions, styles, comments, loves, hates, interactions, and all-around preferences. He can do this because his descriptions and stories are very detailed and tend to be true to the universal life experiences we've all had in dealing with, and observing, people. Irving lets these personalities play themselves out, and trusts that the reader will come to understand the inner-core of the character as that character continues to get revealed.
- These characters are often wacky... but in a likeable way. They make you laugh. Yet his protagonists are typically men who are easily relatable -- flawed, but likable. Typically the strong hero-esque roles are filled by women with strong personalities -- but not always.
- When Irving's host of motley characters interact- ironic, tragic, comical, over-the-top, bizarre things happen. It doesn't seem far-fetched at the time (at least not to an Irving fan), because the characters are still believable, and the events that take place are simply extensions of their quirky personalities. Weird fates usually happen to weird people, right? It'd be weird if that weren't the case, but now we're just playing word games....
- There are a number of common themes that run through his novels: New England, Vienna, bears, prostitution, absent parents, the death of main characters, wrestling, sexual deviances, to name a few...
- Irving pushes the boundaries of ridiculousness. The reader needs to have an appreciation for the absurd, and develop a level of trust with the author, because just about anything can happen. Likewise, having a trace of megalomania within, certainly doesn't hurt; especially when, at the end of the novel you find that some characters have become rock stars, famous writers, hollywood actors/actresses, etc. Or perhaps they die... or have something happen to a sex organ, or... you get it, right?
And lastly, John Irving novels deal with important subject matters: abortion, faith, rape, fidelity, sexuality, war, the list goes on. When writing of this novel, another reviewer wrote this: “Once the novel jumps the shark, you realize Irving has all along been cruel and insensitive on every page of the book – on the subject of rape, on the idea of sibling sexual attraction, on the adoption of feminist concept, on political dissent, on prostitution, and on the lives of little people.” I couldn’t disagree more. Irving is very even-handed and sensitive when it comes to these topics. He, in fact, deals with them so humanly, delicately, and skillfully, that he's able to use dark humor as a way of comforting the reader. Trust me: he never downplays important subject matters; he treats them the way great authors do: with consideration, compassion, and heart.
And that brings me to the big issue that it's in this novel, which is rape. There's an early chapter that details a gang rape, and it's one of the most disturbing, soul-wrenching chapters I've ever read in my life; hands down. The effects of rape recur throughout the novel. It doesn't just effect the victim, but the families and friends of the victim, as well, and all in different ways. In The Cider House Rules Irving personalized abortion for me; giving me a sick feeling in the gut when faced with the accounts of women who had to make that difficult choice before it was legal. In The Hotel New Hampshire Irving personalized the horror of rape in the same soul shaking way.
Some believe this book is too wacky and unbelievable, even for Irving. Wild love triangles, incestual romantic love, two bears, a jewish performer named Freud, living in hotels, characters going blind, radicals, screwed-up taxidermy, dwarfs, lots of prostitutes. As said earlier, for me, most of the odd misadventures involved are not unrealistic, but rather natural manifestations of the novels' quirky but realistic characters. All the wild things that happen keep it entertaining. But some of the scenes do seem out of place; like they were thrown into the larger story in an unnatural fashion.
The only other small qualm I have is that Irving overdoes the storytelling from time-to-time. When he artfully and heartfully gets into stories that relate to the novels' general themes, the novel wins. But when the novel gets bogged down in detailed accounts of irrelevant side stories, it loses. This novel could have been 50 to 75 pages shorter, and probably better for it.
I only bring these two issues up to explain why I didn't give this novel five stars, despite my strong reaction to it, and despite my love for it. It's still a damn good book, and you should still read it; or at least pick up an Irving novel, if you haven't. (I'll tell you for a third and fourth time if I have to.)
"It was the end of the summer of 1964; I hadn't been in the United States since 1957, and I knew less about my country than some of the Viennese students knew. I also knew less about Vienna than any of them. I knew about my family, I knew about our whores, and our radicals; I was an expert on The Hotel New Hampshire and an amateur at everything else."
Ultimately this novel is about acceptance, and valuing the time you have on earth with those worthy of your love. It's special how Irving makes this novel work; like an almost magical piece of artwork, everything comes together to make a beautiful whole.
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Read information about the authorJOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven.
Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story “Interior Space.” In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person.
An international writer—his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages—John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.
Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.
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