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.
“When she was four and sleeping in the bottom bunk of her bunk bed, Ruth Cole woke to the sound of lovemaking—it was coming from her parents’ bedroom.” This sentence opens John Irving’s ninth novel, a story of a family marked by tragedy. Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character—a “difficult” woman.
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… 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.