As we grow older - most of all, in what we remember and what we dream - we live in the past. Sometimes we live more vividly in the past than in the present.
As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but his dreams and memories will travel with him; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. 'An aura of fate had marked him,' John Irving writes. 'The chain of events, the links in our lives - what leads us where we're going, the courses we follow to our ends, what we don't see coming, and what we do - all this can be mysterious, or simply unseen, or even obvious.'
Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past - in Mexico - collides with his future.
©2015 John Irving (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks
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"A really good listen, but not Irving's best"
John Irving has written some of the best American novels of the last few decades and this is a good one, but not up there with Hotel New Hampshire, Cider House Rules, Owen Meany or Garp, for my taste at least. Shame Audible hasn't rights to some of these, which have excellent audio versions out there.
As is typical of Irving, we explore episodes of the lives of the characters rather than follow the natural flow of time - this is so skilfully done that it does not confuse or distract - and we find that the past informs the present. Irving uses this to great comic effect, but also to add pathos. The present-day journey of the main character, famous author Juan Diego on a bizarre trip to the Philippines kept me entertained, but it was the stories from his early life in abject poverty in Mexico with his extraordinary disabled sister Lupe, that I loved the best. Armando Duran does a remarkable job of voicing this, especially the tortured voice of Lupe - he manages to bring to life both the compassion and grim humour of Irving's writing. Expect to laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.
"Avenue of Mysteries"
This has to be John Irving's second best Novel, second to "A Prayer for Owen Meany"
A Prayer for Owen Meany
This is the first book I have listened to that was read by Armando Duran. I do like listening to Armando's voice
There are sad parts to the story and surprises. The book is unputdownable
I have always liked John Irving's Novels. I tend to read his opening chapters several times. John Irving does not pad his stories. Every word has a place in the story
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