Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Still More John Irving

In case you missed it earlier, John Irving prepares to read from the forthcoming novel, "Last Night in Twisted River," partly inspired by Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue."

According to Iowa's Gazette, "'Last Night in Twisted River,' Irving said, is a fugitive story about a cook and his son who are 'running away from someone.' The books appears to span at least two generations, since the son, Danny, grows up to become a famous novelist who, like Irving, attended the UI Writers' Workshop in the late '60s.

The chapter Irving read is set in and around Iowa City during the time Danny attended the workshop. Irving said the chapter doesn't have much to do with the novel's overall narrative, but was necessary because he needed to think up a situation that caused Danny to stop drinking.

In the chapter, titled 'Lady Sky,' 25-year-old Danny, his philandering wife, Katie, and their 2-year-old son, Joe, attend an artists' party at a pig farm in Tiffin. For entertainment, the host hires a woman to parachute on to the farm naked. But all hell breaks loose when the parachutist lands in pig manure.

The chapter ends with Danny and Katie waking up the next day terribly hung over and discovering that their son had wandered out of their Iowa Avenue duplex and almost got hit by a car. The thought of his son almost ending up 'dead in the road,' the chapter's last words, causes Danny to stop drinking."

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