Setting Free the Bears

“I could find him every noon, sitting on a bench in the Rathaus Park with a small, fat bag of hothouse radishes in his lap and a bottle of beer in one hand.”

It is 1967. Two Viennese university students roam the Austrian countryside on their motorcycles—on a quest: to liberate the bears of the Vienna Zoo, as was done after World War II. But their good intentions have both comic and gruesome consequences in this first novel written by a twenty-five year old John Irving, already a master storyteller.