“I’m drawn to characters who see the future, or think they do.” —JOHN IRVING

In Avenue of Mysteries, Juan Diego—a fourteen-year-old boy, who was born and grew up in Mexico—has a thirteen-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she thinks she sees what’s coming—specifically, her own future and her brother’s. Lupe is a mind reader; she doesn’t know what everyone is thinking, but she knows what most people are thinking. Regarding what has happened, as opposed to what will, Lupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you.

Lupe doesn’t know the future as accurately. But consider what a terrible burden it is, if you believe you know the future—especially your own future, or, even worse, the future of someone you love. What might a thirteen-year-old girl be driven to do, if she thought she could change the future?

As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. 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.

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven.

Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story “Interior Space.” In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person.

An international writer—his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages—John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.

 

INTERVIEWS • VIDEOS


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John Irving discusses In One Person

John Irving discusses In One Person

In this video John discusses his thirteenth novel, In One Person, and his bisexual narrator and main character, Billy Abbott. As Billy says: "We are formed by what we desire."

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John Irving reads from In One Person

John Irving reads from In One Person

John reads from the beginning of In One Person: I’m going to begin by telling you about Miss Frost. While I say to everyone that I became a writer because I read a certain novel by Charles Dickens at the formative age of fifteen, the truth is I was younger than that ...

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John Irving introduces Billy Abbott

John Irving introduces Billy Abbott

John Irving introduces Billy Abbott, the bisexual narrator of In One Person. "If you were, like me, at an all-boys' boarding school in the fall of 1960, you felt utterly alone—you trusted no one, least of all another boy your age—and you loathed yourself. I'd always been lonely, but self-hatred is worse than loneliness." -- ...

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Interview with Publishers Weekly

Interview with Publishers Weekly

Sexual Outsiders: Three Questions with John Irving.  PW caught up with John Irving to discover more about his forthcoming novel, In One Person (S&S, May). The book explores the nature of unfulfilled love through the voice of Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, who tells the tragicomic story of his life. Your publisher, Jonathan Karp, said ...

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John Irving: Author Q & A

You can download this Q & A in a print/mobile friendly PDF here. The protagonist and first person narrator of In One Person, Billy Abbott, is bisexual. Why do you think bisexuals are rarely represented in literature?   The bisexual men I have known were not shy, nor were they “conflicted.”  (This is also true of ...

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Interview with Entertainment Weekly

John Irving on In One Person, sexual identity, and autobiography. John Irving, who turns 70 this year, will publish his latest novel on May 8. In One Person tells the story of Billy Abbott, a bisexual man who struggles with his identity and attraction to men, women, and transgendered individuals as the world changes around him. EW spoke ...

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A Note from John

A Note from John

In my opinion, no overview of my novels is better written or more insightful than the Introduction Terrence Des Pres wrote to 3 by Irving (Random House), which published in one volume my first three novels—The 158-Pound Marriage being the third. In his evaluation of Setting Free the Bears, The Water-Method Man, and ...

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