"The most powerful and profound novel about women written by a man in our generation . . . Like all extraordinary books, Garp defies synopsis. . . . A marvelous, important, permanent novel by a serious artist of remarkable powers." - Chicago Sun-Times
"Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it. . . . Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous. . . . Brilliant, funny, and consistently wise; a work of vast talent." - The New Republic
"A wonderful novel, full of energy and art, at once funny and horrifying and heartbreaking." - Washington Post
20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
with a new Afterword from the author
The "New York Times" bestseller
This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny
Fields--a feminist leader ahead of her times. This is the life and death
of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual
extremes--even of sexual assassinations. It is a novel rich with "lunacy
and sorrow"; yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a
comedy both ribald and robust. In more than thirty languages, in more than
forty countries--with more than ten million copies in print--this novel
provides almost cheerful, even hilarious evidence of its famous last line:
"In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases."
Auszüge aus dem Buch
Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater. This was shortly after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and people were being tolerant of soldiers, because suddenly everyone was a soldier, but Jenny Fields was quite firm in her intolerance of the behavior of men in general and soldiers in particular. In the movie theater she had to move three times, but each time the soldier moved closer to her until she was sitting against the musty wall, her view of the newsreel almost blocked by some silly colonnade, and she resolved she would not get up and move again. The soldier moved once more and sat beside her.
Jenny was twenty-two. She had dropped out of college almost as soon as she'd begun, but she had finished her nursing-school program at the head of her class and se enjoyed being a nurse. She was an athletic-looking young woman who always had high color in her cheeks; she had dark, glossy hair and what her mother called a mannish way of walking (she swung her arms), and her rump and hips were so slender and hard that, from behind, she resembled a young boy. In Jenny's opinion, her breasts were too large; she thought the ostentation of her bust made her look "cheap and easy."
She was nothing of the kind. In fact, she had dropped out of college when she suspected that the chief purpose of her parents' sending her to Wellesley had been to have her dated by and eventually mated to some well-bred man. The recommendation of Wellesley had come from her older brothers, who had assured her parents that Wellesley women were not thought of loosely and were considered high in marriage potential. Jenny felt that her education was merely a polite was to bide time, as if she were really a cow, being prepared only for the insertion of the device for artificial insemination.
Her declared major had been English literature, but when it seemed to her that her classmates were chiefly concerned with acquiring the sophistication and poise to deal with men, she had no trouble leaving literature for nursing. She saw nursing as something that could be put into immediate practice, and its study had no ulterior motive that Jenny could see (later she wrote, in her famous autobiography, that too many nurses put themselves on display for too many doctors; but then her nursing days were over).
She liked the simple, no-nonsense uniform; the blouse of the dress made less of her breasts; the shoes were comfortable, and suited to her fast pace of walking. When she was at the night desk, she could still read. She did not miss the young college men, who were sulky and disappointed if you wouldn't compromise yourself, and superior and aloof it you would. At the hospital she saw more soldiers and working boys than college men, and they were franker and less pretentious in their expectations; if you compromised yourself a little, they seemed at least grateful to see you again. Then, suddenly, everyone was a soldier--and full of the self-importance of college boys--and Jenny Fields stopped having anything to do with men.
"My mother," Garp wrote, "was a lone wolf."
--There was a popular joke among the nurses in Boston at that time, but it was not funny to Jenny Fields. The joke involved the other hospitals in Boston. The hospital Jenny worked in was Boston Mercy Hospital, which was called Boston Mercy; there was also Massachusetts General Hospital, which was called Mass General. And another hospital was the Peter Bent Brigham, which was called the Peter Bent.
One day, the joke goes, a Boston cab driver had his taxi hailed by a man who staggered off the curb toward him, almost dropping to his knees in the street. The man was purple in the face with pain; he was either strangling or holding his breath, so that talking was difficult for him, and the cabby opened the door and helped him
John (Winslow) Irving, geboren am 2. März 1942 in Exeter, im Staat New Hampshire, als ältestes von vier Kindern. John Irvings Vater war Lehrer und Spezialist für russische Geschichte und Literatur. Seine Kindheit verbrachte Irving in Neuengland. 1957 begann er mit dem Ringen; 19jährig wusste Irving, was er werden wollte: Ringer und Romancier. Studium der englischen Literatur an den Universitäten von New Hampshire und Iowa, wo er später Gastdozent des Schriftsteller-Workshops war. Deutschkurs in Harvard. 1963-1964 Aufenthalt in Wien. 1964 Rückkehr in die Vereinigten Staaten. Arbeit als Lehrer an Schule und Universität bis 1979. Lebt heute in Toronto und im südlichen Vermont. 1992 wurde Irving in die National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, aufgenommen, 2000 erhielt er einen Oscar für die beste Drehbuchadaption für seinen von Lasse Hallström verfilmten Roman Gottes Werk und Teufels Beitrag.