John Irving

James Naughtie and readers talk to celebrated American author John Irving about his novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany.

The novel starts with a shock - the eponymous hero hits a foul ball in a baseball match and kills his best friend's mother. It then moves through to spooky premonitions during an amateur performance of A Christmas Carol, to a drunken psychiatrist driving down school steps, to a bloody end during the Vietnam war. Yet there is pattern and meaning in such bizarre antics, and part of the fun for the reader is to work them out.

Irving reveals the mysteries of one of fiction's most extraordinary characters, Owen Meany - the little guy with the falsetto voice.

Release date:

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Thu 10 Dec 2009 16:00

Related topics

Quiz – The Handmaid's Tale

P06595t9 handmaid

Twenty questions to test your knowledge of Margaret Atwood's famous novel.

Explore James Naughtie's picks from 200 editions

BC montage

A treasure trove of the 20th and 21st Century’s great writers discussing their work

Sample our books and authors Clip Collection

Clips of Books Content

Interviews, previews and reviews

Books website

Books home

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.

Short stories to keep

Short Story Primary

The fiction podcast featuring the best stories from the UK's finest writers