Welcome to the first official meeting of the Irving Owen Meany Mini-Book Club! (say that 3 times fast) We are blogging and twitting and goodreads.com-ing our way through the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany and this will be the kick-off where we discuss the first three chapters and then some. Join us! follow along!
Care – page 91 / end of Ch 3 The Armadillo – Friday 7/24 TODAY!
Lu – page 183 / end of Ch 4 The Little Lord Jesus – Monday 07/27
Ms Mazzola – page 230 / end of Ch 5 The Ghost of the Future – Wed 07/29
Jessi – page 300 / end of Ch 6 The Voice – 07/31
Jill – page 369 / end of Ch 7 The Dream -08/03
Vasilly – page 450 / end of Ch 8 The Finger – 08/06
Joanne (with an E) – ENDING/Readers Guide by August 08 which is a Saturday
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION
First sentence of the novel: “I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”
Is this a strong first sentence? Does it include TOO MUCH foreshadowing? Is this too blunt to be foreshadowing? Does it give you a hint that we will have a lot to go through in the 500+ pages ahead? Is this a religious book!?
The Wiki page for autho John Irving includes a few quotes relevant to the first sentence:
“When I finally write the first sentence, I want to know everything that happens, so that I am not inventing the story as I write it – rather, I am remembering a story that has already happened.”
“I spend about two to three months planning the path of the book in my head before I write the last sentence of the novel. From there I work back to the beginning. From the day I think of the last sentence to the book’s publication date, not more than a semicolon has changed.”
Let’s discuss this technique of writing fiction in general. Do you think most authors do this or do you prefer – or can even tell? – when an author either plans out the story well beforehand or allows the characters to write themselves during the writing process? I’m drawing on other author interviews that tell of actually having to write so they themselves know how the story ends.
Do you read the last page(s) of books?
Have you read any reviews lately about what this book is about or do you like to go in ‘blind’?
The Wiki page says this about Owen Meany: “New England family epic centered around religion set in a New England boarding school. The novel was influenced by The Tin Drum by Günter Grass, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the works of Dickens. In Owen Meany, Irving for the first time examined the consequences of the Vietnam War – particularly mandatory conscription, which Irving avoided because he was a married father and a teacher when of age for the draft. Owen Meany became Irving’s bestselling book since Garp, and is now a frequent feature on high school English reading lists.”
Which of these influencing books have you read? Any thoughts? Do you know anyone who ‘had’ to read this in school?
Did you pick up on all the ‘as you shall see’s that BookZombie twitted?
And finally, comments on the NO ARM theme (per Ms. Mazzola’s twitter) that has frequently been featured? From the Indian that town founder Wheelwright bought the land from, the discussion on grief and the declawed armadillo, and the dress dummy.
Anything else I should bring up?
Commenting and discussing may now commence.