“According to his mother, Jack Burns was an actor before he was an actor, but Jack’s most vivid memories of childhood were those moments when he felt compelled to hold his mother’s hand. He wasn’t acting then.”
So begins John Irving’s eleventh novel, Until I Find You—the story of the actor Jack Burns. His mother, Alice, is a Toronto tattoo artist. When Jack is four, he travels with Alice to several North Sea ports; they are trying to find Jack’s missing father, William, a church organist who is addicted to being tattooed. But Alice is a mystery, and William can’t be found. Even Jack’s memories are subject to doubt.
Jack Burns is educated at schools in Canada and New England, but he is shaped by his relationships with older women. Mr. Irving renders Jack’s life as an actor in Hollywood with the same richness of detail and range of emotions he uses to describe the tattoo parlors in those North Sea ports and the reverberating music Jack heard as a child in European churches.
The author’s tone—indeed, the narrative voice of this novel—is melancholic. (“In this way, in increments both measurable and not, our childhood is stolen from us—not always in one momentous event but often in a series of small robberies, which add up to the same loss.”) Until I Find You is suffused with overwhelming sadness and deception; it is also a robust and comic novel, certain to be compared to Mr. Irving’s most ambitious and moving work.
The Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year 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.”
“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
Length: 752 pp
Setting: Europe, Canada, New England
Canadian rights, Knopf Canada
For all other rights contact The Turnbull Agency
John Irving has won an O. Henry Award, a National Book Award, and an Oscar. Until I Find You is his eleventh novel. He lives in Vermont and Toronto.