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'Imagine a young man on his way to a less-than-thirty-second event - the loss of his left hand, long before he reached middle age.' While reporting a story from India, a New York television journalist has his left hand eaten by a lion; millions of TV viewers witness the accident. In Boston, a renowned hand surgeon awaits the opportunity to perform the nation's first hand transplant. A married woman in Wisconsin wants to give the one-handed reporter her husband's left hand, that is, after her husband dies. But the husband is alive, relatively young, and healthy...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552771092
ISBN-10: 0552771090
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 23mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Black Swan
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 3-Jun-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » Television reporter Patrick Wallingford loses one hand, gains another and loses it again, but gains much else instead in this tale of the redemptive power of love. Although it has elements of the humour and surrealism of The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, its tone and storytelling style have more in common with Irving's recent novels A Widow for One Year and A Son of the Circus. With a failed marriage and a string of casual relationships behind him, life gets no better for Patrick when he becomes 'the lion man' by virtue of losing his hand to a lion while delivering a broadcast from a circus. A victim of his own attractiveness to women ('he inspired sexual unrest and unnatural longing'), which is now overlaid with fear, fascination and pity in equal measure, he is seemingly unable to stop himself embarking on one disastrous affair after another, nor rescue his career from its inexorable slide into a televisual wasteland. That is, until he falls for the widow who has arranged for him to receive, by transplant, her dead husband's hand - provided she retains the visiting rights to it. Thus begins his long (and sometimes tortuous) journey to proper adulthood and a mature relationship. This just misses being simply a tale of sexual farce by virtue of Irving's deadpan humour, his compassion and his skillful depiction of the, at times, touching transformation of Patrick from carefree playboy to responsible parent. While quieter and perhaps not as rich as some of Irving's earlier novels, this is still an engaging take on the universal themes of love and loss, success and failure and second chances. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - John Irving

John Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times - winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. He also received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for the short story 'Interior Space'. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules - a film with seven Academy Award nominations. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent novel is Last Night in Twisted River.

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