Trying to Save Piggy Sneed

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed

Book - 1996
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Trying to Save Piggy Sneed contains a dozen short works by John Irving, beginning with three memoirs - two of which (including an account of Mr. Irving's dinner with President Reagan at the White House) are new to American readers. The newest and longest of the memoirs, "The Imaginary Girlfriend", is the core of this collection. The middle section of the book is fiction. In 28 years, John Irving has written eight novels - but only a half-dozen short stories that he considers "finished"; they are all published here. In the third and final section are three essays of appreciation: one on Gunter Grass, two on Charles Dickens. To each of the 12 pieces, which cover 30 years of writing, Mr. Irving has contributed his Author's Notes.
Publisher: New York : Arcade Pub., c1996.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9781559703239
1559703237
Characteristics: 432 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.

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lukasevansherman
Oct 04, 2014

"I realize that writer's business is setting fire to Piggy Sneed-and trying to save him-again and again; forever."
John Irving occupies a somewhat curious spot among contemporary writers. He's popular, he's had several well-received films made of his books, and he gets good reviews, yet he doesn't seem to be taken as seriously as, say, Don DeLillo or Cormac McCarthy. Obviously he's a very different kind of writer and he's detractors might accuse him of being old fashioned. He certainly has little to no use for post-modern tricks or literary pyrotechnics. His closest contemporary in that sense may be Richard Russo. I guess this a roundabout way of saying that he's a great novelist and, in many ways, superior to his more critically favored peers. This slim collection has a short autobiographical piece (the title story), six short stories, one of which was in "Garp," and an essay in praise of Dickens, a writer with whom he has much in common. Like Dickens, he's not so much interested in polished prose or literary trends but in engaging and moving the reader, even at the risk of being sentimental or corny. A fine book for the the Irving fan.

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