• Disappearing Letters and Breaking Rules: John Irving as Namer

      Wages, Jack D. (2014-10-16)
      Among a number of interesting contemporary American novelists is John Irving, whose first three novels were inventive and entertaining; his second three works, however, are particularly remarkable. With The World Accordjng to Garp (1978), The Hotel New Hampshire (1981), and most recently Cider House Rules (1985) Irving has taken, as one reviewer observes, "a quantum leap forward" not only as a story teller, but also as a novelist who makes use of numerous and varied techniques related to names and naming. From the ribald puns on place names and a memorable demonstration of the intricate relationships between one's very existence and one's name in The World According to Garp to the epigrammatical and philosophical "sorrow floats" of The Hotel New Hampshire to his performance of onomastic tours de force in Cider House Rules, Irving continues to provide a rewarding and provocative treasure-trove for the student of names in literature.