If you haven’t read at least one book by John Irving, then you are missing out on one of the best modern American novelists. I have read a few of Irving’s works, but none was as brilliant to me as A Prayer for Owen Meany. A tragic accident brings the two main characters together and links them in a mystery that defines their lives.
I read this novel many years ago, and like many other books from my past, I have forgotten so much of it. Prolific readers have to come to terms with this unavoidable reality — most of us simply can’t retain the vast majority of what we read. And, I don’t read all that much. What is encouraging to me is the side benefit of reading, especially serious fiction. I may not remember character’s names, specific events, or even the story line, but I know that great books have an impact on my way of thinking and the way I view the world and my own journey. Sometimes, they alter my path and help me find new avenues that I had no idea existed.
I really wasn’t looking for Christian symbolism when I read this book, but by the time I finished, I had decided that Owen Meany WAS Christ. Someday I want to return to this novel to see how different my reaction to it will be. In fact, I would like to do the same thing with several other titles. So many books, so little time . . . .