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."
"This sprawling, imaginative tale about a writer whose life's journey has all the qualities of a modern Dickens novel is vintage Irving.", " Avenue of Mysteries is full of Irvingisms the transvestite, the circus, the orphanage, the character who can't speak, the car accident, the missing father, the weird Christianity. These elements are part of the fun for fans: hearing the familiar rhythm, finding the trademark components fit together in a novel way.", "An empathically imagined, masterfully told, and utterly transporting tale of transcendent sacrifice and perseverance, unlikely love, and profound mysteries.", "The outsize characters on the two vast alternating canvases Irving paints are more varied than the acts in a circus caravan.", "Meaningfully Dark and Classically Quirky.", "Irving proves his prose still packs a punch in Avenue of Mysteries .... It's good to see that this popular and insightful literary magician still has a few tricks up his sleeve.", "Juan Diego's memories of adolescence around 1970 in Oaxaca compose some of the most charming scenes that Irving has ever written. He's still an unparalleled choreographer of outrageous calamities that exist somewhere between coincidence and fate.... Those conflicting currents of spirituality flowing through "Avenue of Mysteries" add to Irving's rich exploration of faith in several earlier novels.", "The character is a captivating original; his tale includes humor, pathos, and acute observations. Once again, Irving charms by blending the fantastical with what is deeply, affectingly real.", "Irving has always been a consummately convincing realist, in matters both great and small.... While writers of later generations seldom come close to achieving Irving's levels of verisimilitude, his realism is transmogrified by his general whimsicality and by his attraction to baroque extrapolations of the absurd. This sort of ambition... is part of what makes Irving such a prodigious entertainer.... This novel is not autobiographical, but it does present an aging artist with a sacred wound, tremendous desire, and an endless appetite for wonder.", "The novel's tone moves easily from drama to comedy to tragedy, the perfect mix for a film adaptation someday. Casting will probably take time these characters are so unique. Until then, lose yourself in this tale from one of America's pre-eminent storytellers.", "Irving works his familiar themesCatholicism, sex, deathwith a light and assured touch.... A welcome return to form.", "A richly detailed, imaginative and beautiful novel, with a series of events that seem equally bizarre and resoundingly universal.... It is a complex and many-layered novel that covers a lot of intellectual, moral and emotional ground, but in the end, it is the simplest, saddest and most wonderful tale of the human condition. It is about what we all fear: finding people to love, and then losing them, too.", "The novel is a remarkable feat... as Irving ignores the constraints of conventional fiction and tosses all of his ideas into his novelist's blender and turns it on high.", "Have had a hard time putting down Avenue of Mysteries . A new John Irving novel is always like an unexpected gift.", "A Vivid Audio Writer about Sex.", "Like all of Irving's novels, Avenue of Mysteries is about awakening to the past, to hidden emotions, and to the truth and weight of trauma and childhood. Only this time, the narrative is dreamier and more ruminative.", "Once Again, Irving's Lyrical Writing Grabs Readers from the FIRST Page.", "Delivers [Irving's] Typical Blend of Humor and Tragedy", "From the first page to the last, there is a goodness to this novel, a tenacious belief in love and the redemptive power of human connection, unfettered by institutions and conventions. This belief, combined with good old-fashioned storytelling, is surely why Irving is so often described as Dickensian. But John Irving is his own thing, and so is his new novel. Avenue of Mysteries is thoroughly modern, accessibly brainy, hilariously eccentric and beautifully human.", "In its early pages especially, Avenue of Mysteries is laugh-out-loud funny.... Yet as funny as the new novel often is, Irving's reconsideration of earlier themes seems more somber here. The novel explores questions of belief and disillusionment, chance and choice, the mundane and the miraculous . Avenue of Mysteries is a provocative and perplexing novel.", "Delivers Irving's Typical Blend of Humor and Tragedy.", "A dream-steeped, enchanted, and often amusing tale.... Irving keeps this imaginative story, his aging novelist, his odd cast of characters, and his readers, moving on a trajectory toward collision in this unfailingly masterful narrative.", "An Entertaining, Phantasmagoric Look AT the Childhood That Shaped a Writer's Life.", "A wild and rollicking ride... Irving plays delightful havoc with this colorful collection of humanity, beguiling us from start to finish."