John Irving
Last Night in Twisted River

Last Night in Twisted River by John IrvingLast Night in Twisted River is the newest novel—John Irving’s twelfth—from one of the best-known and best-loved authors in the English language.

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County—to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto—pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them.
In a story spanning five decades, Last Night in Twisted River depicts the recent half-century in the United States as “a living replica of Coos County, where lethal hatreds were generally permitted to run their course.” From the novel’s taut opening sentence—“The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long”—to its elegiac final chapter, Last Night in Twisted River is written with the historical authenticity and emotional authority of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. It is also as violent and disturbing a story as John Irving’s breakthrough bestseller, The World According to Garp.

What further distinguishes Last Night in Twisted River is the author’s unmistakable voice—the inimitable voice of an accomplished storyteller. Near the end of this moving novel, John Irving writes: “We don’t always have a choice how we get to know one another. Sometimes, people fall into our lives cleanly—as if out of the sky, or as if there were a direct flight from Heaven to Earth—the same sudden way we lose people, who once seemed they would always be part of our lives.”

National Bestseller
A BookList Editors’ Choice
A November Indie Next Pick

Praise for John Irving’s writing:

“Running through John Irving’s novels is the theme of lost children and absent parents… Central to Mr. Irving’s art is his feeling about the passage
of time… He thinks in the long form, and is obsessed by the
transformations of life.” —The New York Times

“John Irving is one of the very finest writers alive today.”
The Associated Press

“Irving is among the few novelists who can write a novel about grief and fill it with ribald humour soaked in irony.” —USA Today

“There’s only one thing wrong with John Irving novels: They have to end.” —The Tennessean

“A large talent announces itself on every page.” —Mordecai Richler

“Irving is at the height of his considerable literary powers. His novels burst with stories, characters, arguments, oddities and images that help us define the world we live in.” —Playboy

“Irving’s novels are perceptive and precise reflections of the world around us.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Using comedy, satiric social commentary and his adroit ability to tell a good yarn, Irving proffers a sweet love story with the very serious underlying theme of human transformation.” —Ottawa Citizen

“Irving’s best books are Dickensian in their rich characters, plotting and language—and of course, in moving the reader. On the final page of A Widow for One Year . . . I literally burst out crying.” —Orlando Sentinel

“John Irving, it is abundantly clear, is a true artist.” —Los Angeles Times

“[Irving’s] characters can beguile us onto thin ice and persuade us to dance there. His instinctive mark is the moral choice stripped bare, and his aim is impressive. What’s more, there’s hardly a writer alive who can match his control of the omniscient point of view.”
The Washington Post Book World

“He offers ... a faith in patient storytelling and the conviction that narrative hunger is part of our essence.” — Carol Shields

“Irving’s instincts are so basically sound, his talent for storytelling so bright and strong that he gets down to the truth of his time.”
The New York Times Book Review

The Hotel New Hampshire is compassionate, original, enthralling…clearly establishes John Irving as one of the major writers or our time.”
Publishers Weekly

“There is something of Byron about John Irving. Not only is it that he woke after the publication of The World According to Garp to find himself famous, but the extremity of his opinions and the nervous violence of his language recall that intemperate nobleman, and, like Byron, he would certainly say that love is no sinecure. Indeed, nothing in life is easy for Irving’s characters, and in his novels the still, sad music of humanity rises to orgasmic uproar of a rock band.” —Robertson Davies

“Irving should be required to do nothing more to secure his place as one of America's premier fiction writers.” —Booklist


Setting: US and Canada
Period: 1950s to present

Canadian rights, Knopf Canada
UK rights (hardcover), Bloomsbury
UK rights (paperback), Transworld

For all other rights contact The Turnbull Agency


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, Mr. Irving 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.

Last Night in Twisted River is John Irving’s twelfth novel.


  • Until I Find You

    A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make A Sound

    The Fourth Hand

    My Movie Business

    A Widow for One Year

    The Imaginary Girlfriend

    A Son of the Circus

    Trying to Save Piggy Sneed

    A Prayer for Owen Meany

    The Cider House Rules

    The Hotel New Hampshire

    The World According to Garp

    The 158-Pound Marriage

    The Water-Method Man

    Setting Free the Bears