In his latest novel, John Irving explores - in his inimitable way - the ways in which our pasts reverberate in our presents and, indeed, our futures.
Juan Diego’s little sister is a mind reader. As a teenager, he struggles to keep anything secret – Lupe knows all the worst things that go through his mind. And sometimes she knows more. What a terrible burden it is to know – or to think you know – your future, or worse, the future of someone you love. What might a young girl be driven to do if she thought she had the power to change what lies ahead?
Later in life, Juan Diego embarks on a journey to fulfil a promise he made in his youth. It is a long story and it has long awaited an ending, but Juan Diego is unable to write the final chapters.
This is the story of what happens when the future collides with the past.
“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.”
Tayari Jones, New York Times Book Review
“Irving has packed so much detail in . . . And yet he has not run out of what has endeared him to so many for so long: immense charm, an appetite to hurtle headlong at the biggest questions and the altogether unfashionable belief that sentimentality is not a crime against art”
“Mischievous . . . Challenging and absorbing . . . Juan Diego emerges as one of Irving’s most memorable and fascinating creations, which is saying something. He is a twenty-first century Garp.”
“Irving has embarked on his dark phase, as did Dickens. It will be interesting, if melancholy, to follow him down that gloomy avenue”
“A typically idiosyncratic Irving novel: at times exhausting, at other times rambling and self-indulgent, but always readable, impassioned and thought-provoking”
Mail on Sunday
“Grabs you by the throat in a way few other authors’ work can”
“Irving’s powers of storytelling – when to give knowledge and when to withhold it, then smack you in the face with it – remain intact”