An Evening with John Irving

Our dear Master is busy writing a novel. Believe us, it’s quite boring, so we happily accepted the invitation from Dina to spend an evening with John Irving. Swift as lightening we flew to Norway. The House of Literature in Fredrikstad very happily presented the great storyteller and they were also very pleased and proud to have the famous international Bookfayries Siri and Selma sitting in the front row. 

Masterchen schreibt gerade an einem Roman. Glaubt uns, das ist voll langweilig! So nahmen wir gerne Dinas Einladung an, einen Abend mit John Irving zu verbringen. Hurtig flogen wir nach Norwegen. Das Literaturhaus von Fredrikstad war stolz, diesen großen Erzähler zu präsentieren und sie fühlten sich genauso geehrt, die berühmten internationalen Buchfeen Siri und Selma in der ersten Reihe sitzen zu haben.

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We are fans of John Irving having all his books in our library and we even read them all. But our enthusiasm isn’t shared by everyone.When our Master told his editor about reading Irving she answered pitying: “I cannot imagine you reading such popular light fiction.” That’s what we like, his books are as entertaining as amusing, he is a great storyteller who writes straight forward without any scrolls. His stories are cranky and funny. F.e. getting the idea that a woman is biting off the penis of her lover during fellatio in her car because her husband involuntarily crashes into this car is ingenious, isn’t it! This and other crazy events you will find in “The World According to Garp“, the novel making him famous in 1978. 

Wir sind nämlich Fans von Irving, ja wir Fab Four lasen sogar alle Bücher von ihm. Diese Begeisterung wird allerdings längst nicht von allen geteilt. Als Masterchen kürzlich seiner Lektorin gegenüber erwähnte, dass er Irving liest, meinte sie mit mitleidigem Lächeln: “dass Sie populäre Unterhaltungsliteratur lesen, hätte nicht von Ihnen erwartet.” Aber genau das ist es, was wir an Irving lieben, er unterhält uns prächtig. Das liegt daran, dass er ein großer Fabulierer ist, der im linearen Stil, schnörkellos und spannend seine skurrilen wie komischen Geschichten präsentiert. Z.B. darauf zu kommen, dass eine Frau den Penis ihres Liebhabers bei der Fellatio im Auto abbeißt, als ihr Mann aus Versehen auf dieses Auto auffährt, finden wir genial. Das und andere skurrile Begebeheiten finden Sie in “The World According to Garp”, den Roman, mit dem Irving 1978 der Durchbruch als Schriftsteller gelang.

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“Herman Melville wrote: `Woe to him who seeks to please rather than appall!´ To appall is good storytelling. I try to appall. To write about what you fear is also a little autobiographical — even if what you fear has never happened to you. When I start a novel, I try to create a situation I never want to be in myself. If the situation scares me, even to think about it — well, I know that’s a good start.”

“Herman Melville schrieb: `Wehe dem, der mehr zu gefallen sucht als zu erschrecken!´ Erschrecken ist gutes Erzählen. Ich versuche zu erschrecken, darüber zu schreiben, was man befürchtet, das stets leicht autobiografisch ist – auch wenn das, was man befürchtet, einem nie zustieß. Wenn ich einen Roman zu schreiben beginne, versuche ich eine Situation zu schaffen, die ich niemals erleben möchte. Wenn diese Situation mir Angst macht, auch wenn ich nur über sie denke – naja, dann weiß ich, dass dies ein guter Anfang ist.”

This said Irving in an interview just a couple of days ago. Fear of castration and adultery are recurring topics in his novels. – By the way Irving, whose real name is John Wallace Blunt, claims to live a rather boring life.

Soweit John Irving selbst, in dessen Romanen Kastrationsangst und Fremdgehen wiederkehrende Themen sind. – Übrigens behauptet Irving, der eigentlich John Wallace Blunt heißt, dass sein Leben ziemlich langweilig sei.

This and many other stories John Irving told us during the much too short evening. But foremost of course he talked about his latest book “Avenue of Mysteries“. It centers on Juan Diego, an older man chasing his past as he travels to the Philippines. And if you know Irving, you know it won’t be a pleasant journey! He mades us chuckle when he pointed out:  „I am a worst-case-scenario writer. I mean, who the hell reads best-case-scenario writers?

Dieses und vieles andere erzählte John Irving während des viel zu kurzen Abends. Vor allem sprach er jedoch über seinen neusten Roman “Avenue of Mysteries“, in dem es Juan Diego geht, einem älteren Mann, der seiner Vergangenheit bei einer Reise zu den Philippinen auf der Spur ist. Wir mussten grinsen, als Irving meinte: “Ich bin ein Katastrophenszenen-Schreiber; wer um Himmels Willen liest denn Glücklicheszenen-Schreiber?

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John Irving, who adores the German writer Günter Grass, wrote the obituary of this literary Nobel prize winner and his friend in the German newspaper “DIE WELT” in April 2005. “The Tin Drum” by Grass inspired Irving from the early sixties onwards. As Irving speaks and reads fluently German (he studied in Vienna for two years) he was able to read this novel in its original language. 

John Irving, der Günter Grass verehrte, schrieb in DIE WELT vom April 2015 einen rührenden Nachruf für seinen Freund, den deutschen Nobelpreisträger, dessen Roman “Die Blechtrommel” Irving, der durch sein Studium in Wien fließend deutsch spricht, seit Beginn der sechziger Jahre bis heute inspirierte.

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We are impressed by Irving’s technique of writing: he handwrites his novels. He writes very slowly he explains and therefore he does not use modern media which are much too fast for him.

Was uns an Irving imponiert: Er schreibt per Hand. Das begründet er damit, dass er langsam schreibt und die moderne Medien ihm viel zu schnell sind.

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We were asked to name our favourite of Irving’s books. Well, I, Siri Bookfayrie, love “A Widow for One Year” hoping to become a famous author like Ted Cole’s daughter Ruth. And I, Selma Bookfayrie, prefer “Until I Find You” very much because of this whimsical mixture of tattooing and church music. And if our strict Master wouldn’t prohibited it I would have a tattoo for quite a while, well, such an inconspicuous one like John Irving.

Wir wurden gefragt, was unser Lieblingsbuch von Irving sei. Also ich, die Siri, liebe “Witwe für ein Jahr” und werde werde sicher wie Ted Coles Tochter Ruth eine berühmte Schriftstellerin. Und ich, Selma Buchfee, finde diese verrückte Verbindung von Tätowierung und Kirchenmusik in “Until I Find You” toll. Wenn Masterchen es nicht verboten hätte, wäre ich schon längst tätowiert, naja, so unauffällig, wie es John Irving ist.

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John Irving is a successful and awarded screenwriter as well. The film adaption of his novel “The Cider House Rules” was rewarded with an Oscar. Lately Dina got us the film “The Door in the Floor“. For this film Irving convinced the scriptwriter Tod Williams not to film his entire novel “A Window for One Year” but only one episode from the beginning. That’s the same solution the German director Volker Schlöndorff had chosen when he filmed “The Tin Drum“. We love in this episode of Irving’s novel the phrase “a sound like someone trying not make a sound“, and this is the title of Irving’s first children’s book. 

John Irving ist, wie ihr wahrscheinlich wisst, auch erfolgreicher Drehbuchautor. Für das Filmscript seines Romans “The Cider House Rules” bekam er den Oscar. Dina brachte uns kürzlich den Film “The Door in the Floor” mit, bei dem Irving klugerweise den Drehbuchautor Tod Williams überredete, nicht seinen ganzen Roman “Witwe für ein Jahr” zu verfilmen, sondern nur eine Episode vom Anfang herauszunehmen. Ein vergleichbares Verfahren wandte Volker Schlöndorff bei seiner Verfilmung von “Die Blechtrommel” an. Wir finden in dieser Romanepisode die Wendung von dem “Geräusch, wie wenn einer versucht, kein Geräusch zu machen”  ganz, ganz toll. Das ist auch der Titel des ersten Kinderbuchs von Irving.

 

Did we inspire you to read Irving’s books or to sit down in your cosy chair with a drink watching the filmed version of one his books?

Haben wir euch jetzt angeregt, ein Buch Irvings zu lesen oder gemütlich beim Weinchen im Sessel die Verfilmung eines seiner Bücher zu genießen?

Now we have to hurry to get back in time to write this blog …

Jetzt müssen wir aber wieder schnell nach Cley zurückfliegen, um diesen Blog zu schreiben. Ab geht’s ..

Bye
Tschüss
Siri and Selma, the chirpy Bookfayries

 

© text and fotos by Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea 2016

 

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155 thoughts

  1. Yeah it all started in the late 70s with “The World According to Garp” I “swallowed” that book just finished highschool – later on the dismissed one by critics “A Son of the Circus” (a complicated and ‘difficult book’ which became a bestseller – have always wondered do critics ever read those books they are paid to have an opinion.? – I really doubt about that – lucky you have the chance spending a eve with Irving…🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Andrikken,
      do critics always read the books the review? Well, I used to to write book reviews many years ago and first of all it’s payed peanuts. You get masses of books from the publishers and nobody has time to read them all. What you usually do, you read the first five pages and some pages of the end and you decide if you will write about this novel or not. But of course that’s not the only decision, the editors of the media you are writing for tell you which book they want to be reviewed because the publisher will buy an advertisment then. Okay, you have not much time for reviewing, you have not really a choice and you are paid nearly nothing, so you don’t read the book from the beginning to the end. With some books – those you don’t like at the first glance but a review is wanted – you just look what other reviewers have written and biased by their meaning you write your review.
      With Irving it’s strange: Many people like his books but the critics see his novels as popular trivial literature. I didn’t find John Irving listed in my special encyclopedias of literature of the 20th c. It sounds crazy but for the critcs he is too popular. The critic sees himself as an intellectual and praise a book that the masses like is a no go.
      Anyway I am a fan of Irving’s novels even if his style not avantgarde. And by the way a lot of books the critics praise for their special style don’t sell.
      I just enjoy reading Irving’s novels and that’s what matters for me: can you enjoy a novel, is it entertainig?
      Thanks for your commentary and have a happy weekend
      Klausbernd
      and the rest of the Fab Four

      Liked by 2 people

    • Agree with uou, know this world is – the reason why we have to trust our own feeling a allow our own mistake – they not worse than others…🙂

      Years ago at a concert I noticed a famous danish music critic who hung in the bar all night and the day after assessed a concert which he had not attended at all…🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Fab Four of Cley…
    I have always meant to read an Irving novel; actually can’t believe I haven’t by now. But after this article, Bookfaryies, you’ve once again sparked my interest! Thank you for an insight into the author and I’ll take your advice. Thank Dina for suggesting your trip to Norway! Klausbernd – good luck with the book, don’t let Siri and Selma discourage you!!
    GP Cox

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear GP Cox,
      thank you for your kind words. No, Siri and Selma don’t discourage me writing the novel, far from it they help me to design an interesting plot and an eccentric protagonist. A great help are they and Dina as well!🙂
      We Fab Four like Irving’s books because they are entertaining and funny and actually quite easy to read. He is a great narrator full of droll ideas.
      We wish you a relaxing weekend and send warm greetings from a rough but sunny sea
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m transported back to a hot summer between lovers when I had time hanging heavy. I borrowed a copy of ‘The Hotel New Hampshire’, then ‘The Cider House Rules’; a love affair began. Like most it petered out, and now, reading your post is like finding an old photo of a loved one. Surprise, guilt, a fluttering of the emotions. I haven’t read a John Irving book for years and wonder, if I do now, will it be like trying to rekindle an old affair?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Su,
      “The Hotel New Hampshire” was my first Irving novel too and then came his Garp novel. After these two novels he had made me a fan of his writings. I am sure if you would read “A Widow for one Year” now f.e., your love affair would be renewed.
      Thanks for commenting and enjoy the weekend
      Klausbernd and the rest of the gang

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Michael,
      actually that’s not that extraordinary. For the same reason our dear Master writes the first drafts of his novels by hand as well. But only his fictional books he writes by hand not his non-fiction books. He once said: “fantasy needs handwriting”.
      Thanks and cheers
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  4. Sad to admit that I don’t think I have ever read a John Irving book, but I have seen ‘The World According to Garp’, ‘Cider House Rules’ and possibly ‘Hotel New Hampshire’. He is very good with creating oddball characters! Perhaps I need to take a look in the library. (And KB, good luck with the book, I am sure the Bookfayries are very proud of you really, they just don’t want you to become big-headed😉 )

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Jude
      yes, Siri and Selma always get me down to earth – and that’s good so🙂
      We Fab Four like Irving not only for his odd charakters but for his crazy stories as well. We admire his imagination.
      We wish you a great weekend and thanks for your commentary
      The Fab Four

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Only a handful of authors are fortunate enough to have their books made into watchable films, without being completely swallowed by the Hollywood grinder. As a norm, writers (and screenwriters, and even worse if the former also becomes the latter) are despised by many directors and are not even allowed in the sets. Irving seems to be one of the exceptions, thank goodness for that. Also, actors are not known for reading the original books from which some of their movies are based, but again, with Irving it’s been different. Garp, for instance, has reportedly made quite an impression on Robin Williams (his first serious role, sort of), Glenn Close (who was then just a few years his senior but plays his mom), and Lithgow, who plays a transgender person. They all speak highly of the book. As for the handwriting habit, that’s not at all an exception; many prefer that way. Thanks for this post and yes, I’m now thirst to sink my teeth on A Son of the Circus. Cheers

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Colltales
      we have no idea how John Irving managed to get such an influence in filming his novels. It’s amazing that he even won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1999 for his script “The Cider House Rules”. How he got there? No idea. After his Oscar he got a name in the film business. But only “Door in the Floor” was filmed afterwards. By the way did you know that he played a minor role in his first filmed novel “The World According to Garp”?
      Thanks for your commentary🙂
      All the best and a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

    • @ Klausbernd,
      as to his influence on his films, it was hard work, he spent more than ten years on The Cider House Rule, changing producers and coworkers many times. What I especially like about the film, or what makes the film so special, it’s only a fraction of the book. It’s makes it lighter.🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • I guess it’s the only way for authors to keep a resemblance of their work faithfully taken to the screen. If they have the chance, or the stomach to deal with Hollywood, of course. I love that movie too. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, what dynamic shots and great to see him looking in such good form. I put my hand up to be being a big John Irving fan and will never forget the overwhelming feeling when reading Hotel New Hampshire, so many years ago, that he was writing about my family. His writing is so beautifully ordinary, no place to hide from the human element. As for the films, haven’t seen any of them. His books are enough for me. Please wish the Master all the best for his writing (and wow what an editor!). Meanwhile you all behave yourselves!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Patty,
      we try our best😉
      We think his novels are filmed quite well. See the comment of Colltales just above, he was able to influence the filming quite substantially. But we are rather readers than viewers as well. We would never see a film before we have read the book.
      Warm greetings to New York – actually Upstate NY we read his first novel
      Have a great weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, Siri and Selma. Thank you for the introduction. I haven’t read John Irving but have of course seen The Cider House Rules. All the very best to Dina and Klausbernd. Have a great weekend.. I’m flying Sunday so it’s sure to be a good one for me.🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I only know ‘The World According To Garp’, which I liked, and ‘The Cider House Rules’, which I didn’t care for. It was good to have this opportunity, to see the explanations of a modern author. I enjoyed the post, and the wonderfully clear photos. But as for literature, I will stick with ‘The Tin Drum’; better than anything Irving has written, in my opinion.
    Love from Beetley, Pete and Ollie. X

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Pete,
      you like Günter Grass. Well the “The Tin Drum” is a great book. Grass became a very political person in Germany supporting the Social Democratic Party. Do you know his other novels like “Cat and Mouse”, “Dog years” f.e. We have to admit we only read “The Tin Drum” and have it also as an audiobook read by Grass himself.
      We like Irving’s humor and droll charakters and stories.
      We wish you a happy weekend. It’s quite breezy here at the coast but sunny and warm and all the tourists gone, GREAT!
      Love from the Fab Four xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • I confess that I have only ever read The Tin Drum. The subject appealed to me at the time. Pleased to hear that you can enjoy the area without those tourists!
      Love from Beetley, Pete and Ollie. x

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Pete, dear Klausbernd,
      as for the novel, “A prayer for Owen Meany”, Irving said: “Owen Meany has the same initials as Oskar Matzerath—the hero of Günter Grass’s novel The Tin Drum.” (And, like Irving’s Meany, Oskar Matzerath refuses to grow.) “Many writers become writers because of something they read. Homage is simply recognizing and acknowledging your ancestors.”
      I love learning curious little things about our books.🙂
      Goodnight to you both from the North, calming down again after the storm,
      Dina X

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My dear Bookfayries,
    GREAT! How much would I haved liked having been there as well. I am like you, dear Siri, I think “Widow for One Year” is one of his best books next to “Garp”. Both are full of crazy ideas, funny and so entertaining. I will keep my fingers crossed for you becoming a famous writer like John Irving!
    And good luck for Klaus with his new novel. Could you Bookfayries, please, watch him to write straight forward without stilistic experiments!
    And my dear Selma when I read “Until find you” I was thinking about a tattoo as well and before I finished this novel I had got a little very secret one.
    With lots and lots of love from Stockholm to you and to Klaus and Dina also
    Annalena xxxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Annalena
      thank you very much. Well, Siri and Selma watch my writing very much, but after your comment even more.
      You don’t like my post-modern writing, you are quite conservative concerning style, aren’t you?
      Anyway I promise to get better!
      Lots of love and a happy weekend
      Klausbernd xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Annalena
      we promise to watch him. You are sooooo right, we absolutely agree with you. But GREAT that you mentioned his style! He knows that you know …
      Fayriedust from
      Siri🙂 and Selma🙂 the clever Bookfayries

      Like

  10. Gosh, I was not aware what I missed out on!! I’d love to spend an evening with Irving. You captured some good atmospheric shots, DIna!
    “Until i find you” is very Nordic and do you know, Mr. Irving got inspired by an organ player in the Cathedral of Oslo. They discussed church music for a long time and Irving was eager to know what does it feel like to play the organ in an such a big church when it’s empty. Do you feel mighty, powerful?
    Lovely, inspiring and informative reading!
    Klem from the North,
    Hjerter

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Hjerter
      thanks for your information🙂
      We felt also “Until I find you” very Nordic when we first read it. And do you know we got this book in a very special edition: first edition with sheared pages instead of the normal cut ones. We are very proud of it.
      We send you lots and lots of love from Norfolk to Norway
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Now that is really something to be proud of!🙂 I don’t have any books that are distinctively special in this respect, at least, I don’t think so. Once I looked up something in a very old botanical book left to me by my Bestemor and I found several 1000 kroner notes that she had tucked away and forgotten, that made it special to me!🙂
      God lørdag!
      Klem, Hjerter

      Like

    • Good afternoon, dear Jackie
      our dear Master and Siri like “A Widow for One Year” best and our beloved Dina and Selma “Until I find you”. Most of the literary critics praise “The World According to Garp” as his best novel. Well, let’s put it like this: these three novels are his best.
      Thanks for commenting and have a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Ich muss gestehen, dass ich noch kein Buch von John Irving gelesen habe, jedenfalls nicht komplett. Ich hatte mir als 16jährige “Die Bären sind los” gekauft und konnte gar nichts damit anfangen. Die Zeit war vielleicht noch nicht reif? Seitdem meide ich John Irvings Bücher. Aber wenn ich mir eure Vorstellung von ihm so durchlese, dann sollte ich ihm und mir noch eine Chance geben. Ich hoffe, ich habe das Buch noch, ansonsten muss ein anderes von ihm dran glauben.🙂 Und wie toll, dass ihr ihn in Fredrikstad treffen konntet. Das war sicher ein Erlebnis.
    Liebe Grüße und ein schönes Wochenende!😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ja, das war “voll super!” wie Selma nachher meinte.
      “Die Bären sind los” müssen wir sagen, finde wir auch nicht gerade sein bestes Buch. Guck mal bitte unsere Antwort einen Kommentar über deinen, dort siehst du, welche Bücher wir richtig toll von ihm finden.
      Dann mach’s mal gut und viel Spaß beim Irving-Lesen🙂
      Genieße das Wochenende
      Liebe Grüße
      Die famosen vier aus Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I enjoyed this post. I had a spate of reading John Irving novels about 25 years ago – Cider House Rules, Water Method Man and a couple of others. I remember enjoying them and the memorable phrase ‘beware the undertoad’ that came from one of them. I don’t read much fiction these days – mostly poetry, nature writing and so-called psychogeography. Perhaps I should though? All the best from Laurence in Norwich.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Laurence
      for me it’s just the other way round: I used to read a lot of non-fiction, philosophy and psychology mainly about 25 years ago and some lyrics as well, but today I more or less only read novels. But psychogeography is a part of my interest also.
      It’s quite breezy here at the coast but brilliant weather: sunshine and rather warm. I went to the sea today hoping for big waves, but nothing as the wind blows from the land.
      All the best to you and Jackie
      Klausbernd
      Greetings from the rest of the gang too

      Like

    • Guten Abend, liebe Susanne,
      wir senden dir ganz liebe Grüße vom sonnigen, aber stürmischen Meer nach Berlin.
      Na da treffen sich ja hier die Irving-Fans🙂
      Wahrscheinlich hast du auch noch nicht sein allerneustes Buch gelesen, das er dort in Norwegen vorstellte. Wir beginnen es gerade.
      Dann mach’s mal gut
      Die famosen vier aus Cley – ohwei

      Like

    • Lieber Klausbernd, stimmt, ich habe das neue Buch noch nicht gelesen, in der deutschen Fassung erscheint es erst am 23.3. als Straße der Wunder. Aber ich freue mich schon sehr auf den neuen Roman. Ich werde auf die deutsche Fassung warten, damit ich es beim Lesen leichter habe und auch die hoffentlich gut übersetzten Spitzfindigkeiten vertehe. Bei uns regnet es in Strömen, wir werden trotzdem ein wenig an die frische Luft gehen. Liebe Grüße sendet euch Susanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Susanne,
      wir wussten gar nicht, dass Irvings neues Buch noch gar nicht in der deutschen Ausgabe vorliegt. Dann wünschen wir dir viel Spaß beim Lesen.
      Hier war heute Wetter vom Feinsten, Sonneschein, warm und so unternahm ich mit den Buchfeen eine große Wanderung, bei der wir Jäger und skurrile Forscher mittelalterlicher Graffiti in Kirchen trafen.
      Hab noch ein rundum schönes Wochenende
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Die schönste mittelalterliche Graffiti habe ich im Braunschweiger Dom gesehen! Dort ist im Pfeiler der Name des Künstlers vermerkt, der die Fresken malte. Das war damals noch sehr außergewöhnlich, weil Malerei nicht mit dem Namen des Künstlers signiert wurde. Einen schönen Wochenbeginn sendet euch Susanne

      Liked by 2 people

    • Bei uns hier in der Kirche gibt es einmal die normalen mittelalterlichen Graffitis für Kirchen am Meer mit Schiffen. Man glaubte wohl, die Schiffe so zu segnen. Aber dieser Kunstgeschichtler, den ich gestern traf, zeigte mir mandalaartige Graffitis, die wie Blumengraffitis, einen Zauber gegen die Hexen und den Teufel darstellen sollen. Ich hatte davon noch nie gehört. Er empfahl mir dazu folgendes Buch, von einem Autor aus unserer Gegend hier
      Champion, Matthew: Medieval Graffiti (Ebury Press, 2015, ISBN: 9780091960414)
      Er hat mir das Buch sehr empfohlen.
      Liebe Grüße aus dem stürmischen Cley
      Klausbernd🙂
      Hab ne feine Woche!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dearest Dina, what a lovely evening🙂 A wonderful author whose life perspectives are very down to earth. No Hollywood glamour here. Imagine, the script for Avenue of Mysteries was originally a filmscript. But then he decided to make it a novel first. Can’t wait till it lands in my mailbox (through the bookclub I’m a member of). Any day now. John Irving is definitely one of my favourite authors, and I have only missed reading his first couple of novels. Have to do something about that, I think. When I was introduced to The world according to Garp, I was completely messmerised. And then the movie !!!!
    My favourite novel is the Ciderhouse Rules. And I think the adaption to the screen from this book, was absolutely fantastic.
    The oddest novel I think was The fourth hand. Strange stuff🙂 But in well known Irving style😀

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dearest Tone, thank you for arranging this GREAT evening 👍 for all of us! 😄 We were absolutely thrilled to be seated in front of John Irving, being the special guests of the evening from Germany and England. You (and the Storyteller 😉 ) made Dina’s day with your birthday surprise.
      We are currently thinking about a wort-case-scenario with the storm “Tor” heading for the coast of Norway with wind currents blowing up to 50!
      Take care, stay inside and don’t stop loving us, never ever!
      Yours, forever, Siri and Selma 👭 ❤️

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Tone,
      I found “The Fourth Hand” and “Setting free the Bears” his weakest novels, both I didn’t read to the end. But all his other novels I really enjoyed from the first to the last page. Especially the Garp-novel, of his early ones, made me a fan of him.
      I send you lots and lots of love to Fredrikstad and envy you a bit that you saw him life.
      All the best and have great weekend
      Klausbernd

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Es war ein großes Glück als ich zur richtigen Zeit den Fernseher einschaltete und den Bericht über sein Leben sah…das sollte KB sehen, dachte ich…
    Mir wurde schlagartig klar, dass Bücher schreiben kein “Nebenjob” sein kein….
    Wenn ich endlich mal meine Tante in Toronto besuchen würde…wie schön, wenn es auch gleichzeitig einen Vortragsabend bei Irving gäbe!
    Er sieht auch traurig und nachdenklich aus auf diesen Bildern. Ist dann das Aufschreiben ein guter Weg mit seinen eigenen inneren Horrorszenarien umzugehen?
    Wird dann der tatsächliche Horror ertragbarerer, wenn das Verdrängen nicht gelingt, wenn man wie automatisch betroffen ist von all dem Gruseligen, was zum Menschenleben auf dieser Erde scheinbar dazu gehört?!
    Ein sehr spannender Mann, auch ein Boxer und Pizzabäcker…wie ich sah, folgt er inneren Regungen und gleichzeitig hat er die einfachen Freuden des Lebens zu schätzen gelernt, vorbildlich!
    Danke, dass wir bei eurem Abend mit ihm dabei sein durften!
    Liebe Grüße!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Guten Abend, liebe Pia,
      ich glaube und habe es auch erlebt, dass man seine inneren Ängste und Unfreiheiten durch Schreiben auflösen kann. Damit meine ich, man kann durch das fiktionale Schreiben lernen, sie zu betrachten und bewusst mit ihnen umzugehen. Aber genau das macht das Schreiben zu hard work, man muss sich zur Ehrlichkeit durchringen, da sonst die Texte zu trivial werden. Schreiben ist therapeutisch – wie wahrscheinlich jede Kunst und wie auch dein Balletttanzen. Es geht immer darum, Grenzen in sich zu überwinden.
      Ganz liebe Grüße
      Klausbernd
      der Rest von uns lässt auch lieb grüßen

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, er ist nicht Boxer, sondern Ringer. Warum ist sein Sessel plötzlich gemütlich blau und der Tisch nicht mehr orientalisch gülden sondern silberfarben…weil Buchfeen bei seinem Vortrag waren wahrscheinlich….
      Schönes Wochenende
      Mein Knie tut weh, zu viel getanzt….aber wird schon wieder…..

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Pia
      das ist eben die Magie von Siri und Selma – sie zauberten für Dina die besten Farben für die Fotos herbei.
      Liebe Grüße, schönen Samstagabend
      The Fab Four
      🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

    • O Danke, ihr Wunderfeen, wir liegen vollkommen faul herum, lesen und essen Torte, (Josilein Geburtstag, 19!)…habe auch einige Quantenwellen losgeschickt und wenn alles nichts hilft, hilft ein Quarkwickel…
      Ich lese immer alle Kommentare und Antworten, aber dies ist ja auch der absolut einzige Blog, den ich besuche……manchmal schaue ich bei den Besuchern dieses Blogs vorbei, so schön!
      Liebste Faulenzer-Regenwetter-Grüße!

      Liked by 1 person

    • @ Josi
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY
      ALLES GUTE ZUM GEBURTSTAG
      wir wünschen dir ein feines neues Lebensjahr, Gesundheit, Erfolg und alles, was du dir selbst wünscht – und was für dich gut ist
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Being a great fan of John Irving, I really enjoyed this post. Great reading and very fine captures of the still going very strong storyteller. Lucky you! I immediately looked it up, and yes! – he’s coming to England next week! Please keep your fingers crossed that I can still get a ticket for London, he’s a seller, not only his books.🙂
    I very much look forward to reading this new book, I love reading about writers. I agree, “The door in the floor” is a wonderful film. Jeff Bridges plays the role of the writer so well!
    All the best for Klausbernd’s novel, you girls please make sure you inspire him now!
    Sarah Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Sara
      thanks a lot for your kind comment🙂
      Yes, we Bookfayries inspire our beloved Master a lot, we read all his texts – hard work, we can tell😉
      “The Widow for One Year” is Siri’s and Master’s favourite and the film “The Door in the Floor” we saw many, many times as we got it as a present from our dear Dina.
      We keep our little fingers crossed and our wings as well that you will see John Irving in London.
      We send you Fayriedust and love from the Norfolk coast
      Siri🙂 xx and Selma🙂 xx

      Like

    • Thank you very much from us, Dina and Klausbernd, as well
      We too keep our fingers crossed for you. He is great to see and hear life, a marvellous and funny entertainer. You will enjoy the evening.
      Love from
      Kb xx and Dina xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your support, it helped, I have my ticket from a friend, the evening was long sold out!!🙂
      Anyone in Dublin watch out, he’ll be on stage in cnversation with John Boyne at the mountain to the sea festival on the 2nd of Feb.
      Enjoy your weekend and thanks once again for openening my eyes,
      Sarah Xx

      Like

    • Sorry, sorry, Dublin sold out instantly. Not a trace of tickets left anywhere for his tour. Quite impressive, isn’t it?🙂

      Like

    • Dear Kerry,
      so you know Irving’s early work quite, well, you are a specialist. Maybe you can tell us why most of the academical literary studies see Irving as an author of trivial literature not to be taken seriously.
      Lots of love from the North Norfolk coast
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s something I’d like to learn more about too! Why Irving’s literary stature is such a subject debate. Some readers, and I mean, he’s got a very wide audience, consider him the heir to Charles Dickens because of his politically liberal social perspectives and detractors dismiss him as an author of crude sex comedies. Regardless of the differing opinions, I’m sure, Irving is guaranteed to be one of the few American novelists of his era who will be read and discussed for many years to come.
      Greetings from Fredrikstad,
      Dina x

      Liked by 3 people

    • @ Dina
      you make an interesting remark about his literary status;
      I have recently read that both perspectives have credence: maybe it’s because Irving’s body of work is uneven, and his meandering plots and relatively plain prose style do not compare well with the work of such praised contemporaries as Philip Roth and Richard Ford, but on the other hand, enjoys a much wider audience than all of those novelists combined, especially with the younger readers. Arguments about Irving’s merit tend to reflect the division between those who see literature’s primary value as aesthetic and those who believe that for a work to be great it must influence culture writ large.

      Like

    • Dear Pete
      thanks a lot for you commentary.
      I agree seen it from the side of style Irving is rather conservative, aesthetically he is an old fashioned straight forward writer. But his plots and his characters are great and he is a talented narrator. These are his two sides which are reflected in his evaluation.
      I really don’t know what it is, usually I am a reader rather prefering the style than the plot or character design – but not with Irving.
      I wish you a happy week
      Klausbernd
      Greetings from Siri🙂 and🙂 Selma

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lady Fi
      it’s funny for us it is just the other way round, we love his newer books – but, of course, with the exeption of his Garp-novel.
      We wish you a happy weekend and thanks for your comment
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I have not read Irving. I saw “Garp” long ago. The theme of the “real” writer being overshadowed by his mother’s memoir is what I still remember. Only a writer could write that story. Brilliant. But the real nugget here is Klausbernd as a review critic. What a glorious revelation.🙂 Another leaf pulled from the artichoke and dipped in the warm butter of your blog’s wonderful surprises. Thank you for an enjoyable post and string of comments.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Thorsaurus
      Thank you very, very much. I feel honoured🙂
      And I am happy you are reading the strings of comments because I sometimes asked myself if it is worth putting that much energy in answering, if nobody – except the commentator – reads them.
      As I experience writing it is emancipation and first of all the emancipation from your mother’s exspectations – for a woman writing it is probably her father’s. That makes fiction writing hard work and therapeutic at the same time, you have to overcome inner limitations otherwise you write a trivial text. Irving as a wrestler knows, wiriting is fighting, wrestling with ideas, characters, plots and style what means overcoming inner limitations.
      Thank you very much for your kind words🙂
      I wish you a GREAT weekend
      Klausbernd

      Liked by 4 people

  17. Yes, you have inspired us. We look forward to curling up with any of these titles. Glad you enjoyed the event. Thanks!!
    Jean and Alex and Kuno and Floyd and Isadora and Sugarplum and Floria and Grackle. (Hmmm, Floyd and Isadora are nearly as prolific as Mr. Irving!).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. simply excellent and interesting post… as usually! I like his works, too… btw, Monsieur Irving often comes to France…🙂
    * * *
    my very best, lots of inspiration and have a serene weekend! cheers!🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very, very much, dear Mélanie
      so you like him as well🙂 We didn’t know that he comes to France often as well.
      Wishing you a great weekend as well, warm greeting from Cley to Toulouse
      The Fab Four

      Like

  19. John Irving is my favourite author. I started with “Hotel New Hampshire” 15 years ago and never going to stop reading him. I am looking forward to read “Avenue of Mysteries” – and that is going to happen very soon🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Great post. Like you, I enjoy Irving. The World According to Garp had me laughing out loud. You taught me a few things about Irving that I didn’t know….like being fluent in German and his “real” name. Thanks!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Patti
      thank you very much for your commentary🙂
      There are such a lot of tiny infos about Irving f.e. what like Dina wrote (quite some comments above) about the parallels between Owen Meany and Oskar Matzerath of “The Tin Drun” by G. Grass. This is what keeps us blogging we learn such a lot from the comments and the posts.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 4 people

  21. Liebe Siri und Selma, seid ihr die zwei kleine Flügelwesen auf den Stühlen im ersten Foto? Habt ihr mitgewirkt, sozusagen als Warm-up für John Irving? Da wäre ich gerne dabei gewesen!🙂
    Klasse Reportage, sehr unterhaltsam und lehrreich und dazu die exzellenten Kommentare!
    Viele Grüße, Jürgen

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Vielen Dank für diese interessante Reportage. Ich dachte, ich hätte alles von John Irving gelesen, es scheint aber gar nicht alles übersetzt worden zu sein?

    Liked by 2 people

  23. My dear friends!
    What a great article about John Irving.
    I have to admit I saw him as an author writing trivial literature too. But, of course, the question is what is trivial and especially what is trivial in literature? And even more interesting who decides what is trivial and what is serious literature. I never thought about those questions before. But you made me think and wonder. Thank you very, very much!
    I don’t have an answer but what’s more important I have that question in my mind.
    Liebe Grüße
    With warm greetings from Svalbard
    Per Magnus

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Per Magnus
      GREAT to read from you again🙂
      Evaluation of literature – quite a problem because there exist no objective criteria. Evaluation criteria of literature have to be subjective, we suppose. Well, not 100% but for a big deal.
      Sending you warm greetings to cold Svalbard
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  24. Interesting post – and the joy of listening to a famous author live is uplifting .I must admit I have only seen the movies…not read him. Maybe you Bookfayeries now convinced me I should…I think for the next long flight?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, dear Otto
      indeed Irving is writing in a meandering style going from one story to the other. This is what we like. It’s probably a reflection of the working of our brain in associations. He is the opposite to Samuel Beckett or Bert Brecht f.e. We like both approaches, well, one could say this meandering style is old fashioned as James Joyce did it very well in “Ulysses” already a hundred years ago. In the end questions of style are besides many objectives a matter of taste.
      Thanks for commenting and all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • I like to experiment with authors, the ones I do not particularly enjoy reading similar to your preference for literary authors who have a more direct and concise approach to help challenge my preferences.(just for fun) 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Fabulous post and what a wonderful evening spending it with John Irving. His books are entertaining…Prayer for Owen Meany, Cider House, Hotel NH… maybe he will continue his book tour in the US. Thanks for a comprehensive look at his work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much, dear Jane.
      On his diary there were no book tours planned in the US in 2016. We know that most of his fans and readers are European, maybe therefore he does most of his lecture tours through European countries.
      All the best to you
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  26. Bin gespannt auf das neue Buch, allerdings fühlt es sich so an, als hätte ich es schon gelesen….
    Juan Diego und Lupe, kicher, kicher, das gibt wieder Bauchschmerzen vor Lachen!
    Morgen faste ich, Vighara! Pillen sind nicht so gesund!
    Hellau und Ahoi von Pia, vielleicht gehe ich im Kostüm “Lyoner Lewis” “Still bleeding for Love”
    Alles Liebe von Pia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Siri und Selma mussten gestern UNBEDINGT die Große Mädchensitzung aus Köln sehen, sangen mit und schunkelten mit rot angemalten Näschen. So hat selbst hier der Karneval Einzug gefeiert
      Viel Spaß dir
      Alaaf
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • THANK YOU for your commentary.
      To read out loud “Widow for one Year” that sounds really GREAT🙂 We love reading to someone as well as getting read a text. Reading out loud makes us to understand the literature much better, you get into the rhythm of the language.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • @ MJF @ Klausbernd:
      I agree, to read out aloud or listen to someone reading is really great. John Irving told us, he sees Shakespeare like a great architect; you don’t have to understand it all, his works have an impact on you anyway and to see a play or to listen to his words works anyhow. Irving introduces the subject of the Shakespeare authorship question in his latest novel, “The Avenue of Mysteries”.
      Wishing you a lovely Sunday,
      Dina x
      P.S.
      I prefere to listen and I especially enjoy listening to a good literature when I knit my Norwegian sweater.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Lovely promotion of Literature! If only the department of education in the USA could be promoted to read literature, meanwhile at least parents and friends have the freedom to share reading and literature with those they love. ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is an European old tradition to read to children in the evening. When I went to school we regularly had read out loud literature, that was in the fifties. And there are still circles of people – actually mostly women – who read literature to each other in Germany, Scandinavia and England.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Cheers
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • That is interesting to me, because I literature in childhood was the bread and butter that my son was nurtured with. I have no idea why literature is so controversial in the USA. It was unfortunate for myself because my father rebelled against literature, the war between the professors and teachers, him and his father. They used math and science as their weapons of literary math distraction.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, we have still the ideal of a broad education in Germany and England – actually going back to Humboldt and is therefore called the Humboldt ideal of education (Humboldtsches Bildungsideal). You know that intellectuals in Europe make jokes about American “education” and when I was professor there I was shocked about the knowledge of my students. Anyway we have more the tradition of an education of arts AND science. You cannot reach leading positions without a literary knowledge f.e.
      My mother was a physicist but very, very well read – like Einstein😉
      Allthe best
      Klausbernd🙂

      Like

    • Actually I was invited as a visiting professor lecturing at the McGill in Montreal for four years. At the McGill the standard was fine. That was in the eighties. During this time I ran some guest lectures and seminar at US universities as well. I lectured at UVM (because it was not far from Montreal), at the UVa and some others I cannot remember. I have been in Berkeley quite often as well.
      And what`s your profession?

      Like

    • My late husband went to UVV in 69′ a scholar, He had the same response, “how little his classmates new. But, his family was from PA; His father ran a car business with his grandfather, but they were the ones who made fun of him, his brother is number one, the smart one, money over education is number one. He never went into the car business, he returned to college to have the means to make a living that was a joke also. So both of us worked to survive, and provide. The last breath he spoke was, There is always beauty in music and literature, written on his tomb, decorated with the cones like the trees, he and my son planted together. The story go much deeper, and further into despair.
      I am working a project. Later! Smart people in the new world are measured by business money. Even a CEO has the ability to control
      Medical researches from hear and those who arrive across the world. I have no laughter are either side.

      Like

    • You mother must have known the work of the female scientist of his time and the other woman whom contributed to his genius.
      I was not implying a person is half brained. No, indeed! The issue is an American discomfort in education.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m already a John Irving fan so you are preaching to the converted. However, we all love reading blogs and stories that confirm our own impeccable good taste in literature, so thank you for this one. It’s lovely to read someone else who shares my liking for his books.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I remember reading Garp and loving it. But I never read another, though I have seen The Cider House Rules and loved that, too. Don’t know why I haven’t read any of his work since but I aim to do so as quickly as possible. Thank you for very interesting excerpts from what I imagine to have been a much longer interview!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Pingback: An Evening with John Irving – tinkertoebells

  31. What a delightful surprise at 1 am on a Saturday evening to run across your delightful post about John Irving. I have loved his work for many years and was blessed about 10 years ago to hear him speak, here in Portland Oregon. One of my favorite of his novels is A Prayer for Owen Meany and he gave us the gift of talking about how he came up with Owen Meany’s very distinctive speaking voice. He said that he borrowed a soundproofed room at a music university and practiced Owen’s voice out loud until he got it right…so he could put it down on paper. And THEN>>>>>> he spoke a sentence for us…as Owen Meany. It gave me goosebumps!

    On another note…I have always considered Irving to be the Charles Dickens of the 20th century… and I believe that 100 years from now people will still be reading his novels, as we still do Dickens.

    Best wishes to you and yours on a rainy night, but then rain in Portland is never newsworthy. We happen to LIKE rain. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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