December 13, 2011

I Can't Wait For John Irving's Bisexually-Charged New Novel

From his Facebook page:

"Here’s an early look at the cover of my new novel, In One Person, to be published May 8, 2012. My thirteenth novel, In One Person is about sexual identity. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, tells the story of his life as a “sexual suspect”—from his adolescence in the fifties, through the AIDS epidemic, into the present.

I first used the phrase “sexual suspect” in 1978, in my novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp. I return to that theme in this novel; as a bisexual man, Billy is a “sexual suspect” in the eyes of both straight and gay people.

In One Person is my most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, but it’s also a tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers. Not least, In One Person is a portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

In addition to the cover image, I’ve included two quotes from my good friends and fellow writers Abraham Verghese and Edmund White. Their authority on the subject of this novel means a lot to me.

“This tender exploration of nascent desire, of love and loss, manages to be sweeping, brilliant, political, provocative, tragic and funny — it is precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel. The unfolding of the AIDS epidemic in the USA in the ‘80s was the defining moment for me as a physician. With my patients’ deaths, almost always occurring in the prime of life, I would find myself cataloging the other losses — namely, what these people might have offered society, had they lived the full measure of their days: their art, their literature, the children they might have raised. In One Person is the novel that for me will define that era. A profound truth is arrived at in these pages. It is Irving at his most daring, at his most ambitious. It is America and American writing, both at their very best.”—Abraham Verghese

“In One Person is a novel that makes you proud to be human. It is a book that not only accepts but also loves our differences. From the beginning of his career Irving has always cherished our peculiarities – in a fierce, not a saccharine way. Now he has extended his sympathies – and ours – still further into areas that even the misfits eschew. Anthropologists say that the interstitial – whatever lies between two familiar opposites – is usually declared either taboo or sacred. John Irving in this magnificent novel – his best and most passionate since The World According to Garp – has sacralized what lies between polarizing genders and orientations. And have I mentioned it is also a gripping page-turner and a beautifully constructed work of art?”—Edmund White"

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