The Imaginary Girlfriend
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The Imaginary Girlfriend

3.38 (1,801 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From a novelist known for the complexity of his novels - they are also long - comes an autobiography of compelling simplicity; it is also short. Dedicated to the memory of two wrestling coaches and two writer friends, "The Imaginary Girlfriend" is a lucid portrait of the writers and wrestlers who played a mentor role in John Irving's development as a novelist, a wrestler and a wrestling coach. Moreover, this candid memoir portrays a father's dedication to his children: Irving coached his sons Colin and Brendan to New England championship titles - a championship that, as a competitor, he himself was denied. John Irving began writing and wrestling when he was fourteen. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, he was certified as a referee for twenty-four and he coached the sport until he was forty-seven. His thirty-three years in wrestling are three times those he spent as a student and a teacher of Creative Writing; yet his concise autobiography details the interrelationship of the disciplines of writing and wrestling - from the days when Irving was a beginner at both pursuits until his fourth wrestling-related surgery at the age of fifty-three. "The Imaginary Girlfriend" is both a work of the utmost literary accomplishment and a paradigm for living.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 14mm | 180g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English, Spanish
  • portraits
  • 0552996807
  • 9780552996808
  • 383,679

About John Irving

John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942, and he once admitted that he was a 'grim' child. Although he excelled in English at school and knew by the time he graduated that he wanted to write novels, it was not until he met a young Southern novelist named John Yount, at the University of New Hampshire, that he received encouragement. 'It was so simple,' he remembers. 'Yount was the first person to point out that anything I did except writing was going to be vaguely unsatisfying.' In 1963, Irving enrolled at the Institute of European Studies in Vienna, and he later worked as a university lecturer. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, about a plot to release all the animals from the Vienna Zoo, was followed by The Water-Method Man, a comic tale of a man with a urinary complaint, and The 158-Pound Marriage, which exposes the complications of spouse-swapping. Irving achieved international recognition with The World According to Garp, which he hoped would 'cause a few smiles among the tough-minded and break a few softer hearts'. The Hotel New Hampshire is a startlingly original family saga, and The Cider House Rules is the story of Doctor Wilbur Larch - saint, obstetrician, founder of an orphanage, ether addict and abortionist - and of his favourite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted. A Prayer for Owen Meany features the most unforgettable character Irving has yet created. A Son of the Circus is an extraordinary evocation of modern day India. He is the author of the international bestsellers A Widow for One Year, The Fourth Hand and Until I Find You. A collection of John Irving's shorter writing, Trying to Save Piggy Sneed, was published in 1993. Irving has also written the screenplays for The Cider House Rules and A Son of the Circus, and wrote about his experiences in the world of movies in his memoir My Movie Business. Irving has had a life-long passion for wrestling, and he plays a wrestling referee in the film of The World According to Garp. In his memoir, The Imaginary Girlfriend, John Irving writes about his life as a wrestler, a novelist and as a wrestling coach. He now writes full-time, has three children and lives in Vermont and Toronto.show more

Review quote

"Interesting and surprising revelations" -- Michael Moran Literary Review "His "inexpressible personal opinions" as a critic are wonderful, slaying many a sacred cow" -- Tobias Jones Spectator "The patent sincerity of his passion gives an appealing authenticity to this memoir... compelling and alive" -- Andrew Rosenheim The Times Literary Supplement "Irving can transform sex and violence mythology with the best of 'em" -- Adrianne Blue Independent on Sunday "Concise, original and enjoyable" The Timesshow more

Review Text

"Concise, original and enjoyable"show more

Back cover copy

From a novelist known for the complexity of his novels - they are also long - comes an autobiography of compelling simplicity; it is also short. Dedicated to the memory of two wrestling coaches and two writer friends, The Imaginary Girlfriend is a lucid portrait of the writers and wrestlers who played a mentor role in John Irving's development as a novelist, a wrestler and a wrestling coach. Moreover, this candid memoir portrays a father's dedication to his children: Irving coached his sons Colin and Brendan to New England championship titles - a championship that, as a competitor, he himself was denied. John Irving began writing and wrestling when he was fourteen. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, he was certified as a referee for twenty-four and he coached the sport until he was forty-seven. His thirty-three years in wrestling are three times those he spent as a student and a teacher of Creative Writing; yet his concise autobiography details the interrelationship of the disciplines of writing and wrestling - from the days when Irving was a beginner at both pursuits until his fourth wrestling-related surgery at the age of fifty-three. The Imaginary Girlfriend is both a work of the utmost literary accomplishment and a paradigm for living.show more

Rating details

1,801 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 12% (212)
4 31% (562)
3 43% (772)
2 12% (212)
1 2% (43)
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