Owen Meany – the Instrument of God
Irving is one of the authors, who can boast of a great number of readers enjoying his unique imaginative ideas and humorous style. It does not matter what book you decide to give your preference to, the author is not going to disanoint you. As the novel begins, the reader dives into the friendship between the diminutive Owen Meany and the narrator himself, John Wheelwright. The narration goes from the present day, when John is looking back to his childhood years spent in New Hampshire, as well as youth period. The story starts with a real bang: we see how Owen kills the mother of Johnny with the errant foul ball. Right from that moment the reader is taken back to the earlier years of the friendship mentioned above…
As we dig deeper into the story, we are told that Owen is a real hero of the day. Moreover, we are told that Owen is the very reason why the story narrator actually believes in God. It seems like the character is under heavy pressure and it’s no wonder that we naturally expect an awful lot from him. But the thing is that Irving doesn’t like the idea of picking the most predictable route for Owen. Instead, the author exerts every single effort in order to build a strong and moving book around the hero. At the end it feels like those little shoulders are not capable to bear everything loaded upon them, but even too much fatalism and religion make the story entertaining enough.
The period, as well as the town, is perfectly rebuilt by beautiful text, and each of the characters is interesting to view. All members of the Johnny’s family, starting with the grandmamma and grandpapa and ending with the wild cousins, and all of Owen’s family seem to be too good. Just like in his previous works, Irving has a bunch of surprises at every turn – touches of humanity, humour and tragedy that are brilliantly mixed with the absurd of his characters.
There are various clever moments and anecdotes throughout the novel. The speech of the main character that is all capitalized turns to be not as irritating as the reader was led to believe – in fact, only some politicians were less than well-handled. In some part, the “Owen Meany” is the book about Vietnam, as well as the involvement of the USA in there, acceptable only for the reason that the author has a masterly approach to finding the right place for his characters in the war. And finally, it is the story about religion and getting closer to Father in Heaven, an idea so beyond-the-understanding and absurd that one simply cannot comment.
The story surprises us with some great twists and turns and in general is pretty well-related. Even though you are perfectly aware of the outcome, the author works magic by keeping your attention on how the things will eventually turn out. While some of the readers find the ending of the book kind of anti-climactic and not every literature device works the way the author would like them to work, the reading is still significantly drawn-out.
Even though Irving is a truly gifted author and highly educated man, and “Owen Meany” is a pretty enjoyable piece of literature – he must shoot higher.