Until I Find You

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John Irving’s eleventh novel, Until I Find You, is the story of the actor Jack Burns. His mother, Alice, is a Toronto tattoo artist. When Jack is four, he travels with Alice to several Baltic and North Sea ports; they are trying to find Jack’s missing father, William, a church organist who is addicted to being tattooed. But Alice is a mystery, and William can’t be found. Even Jack’s memories are subject to doubt.

The World According to Garp

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This is the life of Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields—a feminist leader ahead of her times. This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes. Rich with “lunacy and sorrow”; yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust.