The Fourth Hand

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This is how John Irving’s tenth novel begins; it seems, at first, to be a comedy, perhaps a satire, almost certainly a sexual farce. Yet, in the end, The Fourth Hand is as realistic and emotionally moving as any of Mr. Irving’s previous novels—including The World According to GarpA Prayer for Owen Meany, and A Widow for One Year—or his Oscar-winning screenplay of The Cider House Rules.