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In One Person: A Novel Audiobook, by John Irving Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: John Irving Narrator: John Benjamin Hickey Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781442349162
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His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving’s In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

Advance praise for John Irving’s In One Person:
“This tender exploration of nascent desire, of love and loss, manages to be sweeping, brilliant, political, provocative, tragic, and funny—it is precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel. The unfolding of the AIDS epidemic in the United States in the ’80s was the defining moment for me as a physician. With my patients’ deaths, almost always occurring in the prime of life, I would find myself cataloging the other losses—namely, what these people might have offered society had they lived the full measure of their days: their art, their literature, the children they might have raised. In One Person is the novel that for me will define that era. A profound truth is arrived at in these pages. It is Irving at his most daring, at his most ambitious. It is America and American writing, both at their very best.” —Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone and My Own Country

In One Person is a novel that makes you proud to be human. It is a book that not only accepts but also loves our differences. From the beginning of his career, Irving has always cherished our peculiarities—in a fierce, not a saccharine, way. Now he has extended his sympathies—and ours—still further into areas that even the misfits eschew. Anthropologists say that the interstitial—whatever lies between two familiar opposites—is usually declared either taboo or sacred. John Irving in this magnificent novel—his best and most passionate since The World According to Garp—has sacralized what lies between polarizing genders and orientations. And have I mentioned it is also a gripping page-turner and a beautifully constructed work of art?” —Edmund White, author of City Boy and Genet: A Biography Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • In One Person gives a lot. It’s funny, as you would expect. It’s risky in what it exposes…Tolerance, in a John Irving novel, is not about anything goes. It’s what happens when we face our own desires honestly, whether we act on them or not.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Irving has a frightening command of the various ways people sickened during those dark days [of AIDS], and he dramatizes one death after another with such extraordinary compassion that the victims and their families step out from the fog of statistics and take their place as separate tragedies, every one…There’s a talent at work in this brave new novel that—as Prospero said—‘frees all faults.’”

    Washington Post

  • “It is impossible to imagine the American—or international—literary landscape without John Irving…He has sold tens of millions of copies of his books, books that have earned descriptions like epic and extraordinary and controversial and sexually brave. And yet, unlike so many writers in the contemporary canon, he manages to write books that are both critically acclaimed and beloved for their sheer readability. He is as close as one gets to a contemporary Dickens in the scope of his celebrity and the level of his achievement.”


  • In One Person is a rich and absorbing book, even beautiful, and probably the most different book of Irving’s long career…Thirty years ago, Billy would have been so different as to be dangerous…From now on, the truly deviant will be the ones—the scowling churchmen and reprobates who cast everyone into hell—who cease to live their own lives while telling everybody else how to live theirs.”


  • In One Person finds Irving energized and engaged, employing his familiar motifs and strategies to excellent effect. His compassion and belief in tolerance shine through…The chapters set during the height of the AIDS epidemic are especially strong and honest.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “In speaking for tolerance and acceptance…this novel is on the side of the angels…‘Fullness of heart,’ a quality Irving has praised in Dickens, is one of its many virtues, and the reader is swept along by the histories it tells…John Irving understands plotting as few other living American writers do.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “The prose devoted to AIDS victims is particularly devastating…The passages in which Billy visits various dying classmates, friends, and lovers at home and in hospitals include some of Irving’s best writing, ever.”

    Boston Globe

  • “His prose, as always, is gorgeous, and Irving remains a master builder when it comes to constructing an epic plot filled with satisfying twists.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “[Irving] never abandon[s] his core subject: the individual’s right to respect, regardless of sex or gender orientation…There is no American writer of that era [1970s] who deserves more to be reread and reconsidered than John Irving…He is daringly feminist, to a degree that his sex-positive contemporaries (Roth and the late Updike) never considered…At any age, in any decade, these are thoughts that test the conscience and the heart…the fear of the death of children—or of anyone you love…thoughts that Irving has made a career of wrestling to the mat, not worrying about whether they can be pinned.”

    Daily Beast

  • “A brave and hugely affecting depiction of how in one life (sexual or otherwise) we contain multitudes.”


  • “Truly heart-wrenching. Irving cares deeply, and the novel is not just Bill’s story but a human tale. This wonderful blend of thought-provoking, well-constructed, and meaningful writing is what one has come to expect of Irving.”

    Library Journal

  • “Although sexual desire in its many and varied permutations is thoroughly explored, it is the humanity of the characters that shines through at the end.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Irving’s ability to humanize his unconventional characters is nowhere put to better use than in this novel.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “An admirable undertaking, evoking the spirit of his literary hero, Charles Dickens, to examine a serious social issue without losing sight of the truth that those ultimate questions are rooted in the everyday world of living, breathing people.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • In One Person tackles questions of identity and sexual politics with the straightforward style and explicit honesty Irving fans know well.”

    Toronto Star

  • “A sexual comedy that has both guts and heart…Irving commonly wages war on the bigot, the prude, and the bully, but seldom with such effusive brio as in his thirteenth novel…A hard novel to classify but an easy one to like—much like its protagonists. In the enchanted woods of Vermont, Rilke’s angels and Shakespeare’s sprites cast spells that conjure dreams of a love without limits.”

    Independent (London)

  • “It is to Irving’s great credit that, as a bestselling heterosexual American novelist, he has written what those who indeed put labels on things might call a ‘gay novel’ without treating homosexuality as an ‘issue’…In One Person is boldly conceived and energetically executed.”

    Spectator (London)

  • Selected for the May 2012 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A USA Today bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Fiction
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, May 2012
  • Winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Literature
  • A 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 7/14/2017

    " A story about acceptance, character and love. I think a story needs to be written about Grandpa Harry ~ he was my favourite character and my favourite performance from the narrator. This book was silly, warm and although a little far fetched at times, I adored the characters and the ultimate meaning behind the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allan | 2/7/2014

    " A brilliant read. Just don't start if you need to get something else done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/21/2014

    " I like anything John Irving writes. His characters are unbeatable. His stories are always movies in my head. I am casting them as I read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ortal | 1/20/2014

    " when you are reading a book with a bi male protagonist, and you are getting to the 80s, you know you are in for a hard time! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annmarie | 1/14/2014

    " Sooo long... And although I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany, this book doesn't have a surprisingly meaningful story the way that one does. Also, this may be kind of too personal, but I was a little uncomfortable with the way the narrator obsesses over breasts. It was totally in my face on almost every page. He's also stuck-up and the only character I ever really RELATED to was his stepfather when he tells the narrator how sad it is that he hates his mom so much he doesn't even grieve for her when she's tragically killed. I was like, "Thank you. I'm so tired of hearing this a**hole complain about what a bad person his mother is." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Blair | 1/11/2014

    " I always like reading John Irving because you never know what to expect, and this novel is no different. It's not my favorite, but I loved the story. It will make some readers uncomfortable, but as with many of Irving's novels, humor exists in the least likely places. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 1/5/2014

    " Best John Irving in years! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yuckadoo | 1/5/2014

    " Interesting book. John Irving never fails to keep my attention, and this is no exception. I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 12/18/2013

    " Still mulling it favorite Irving character in this is definitely Miss Frost! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 12/16/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. John Irving never fails to entertain, with his quirky, memorable stories and unforgettable characters. This one is a keeper! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobby | 11/25/2013

    " How come I ignored John Irving all these years?! Looking forward to the other novels I have on my shelf but yet to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie | 10/15/2013

    " This is Garp good. I had a hard time putting this down but did not want it to end. Most of the characters were enjoyable, though some of the story line stretched the imagination. This is Irving back in his old form. He writes with humor and empathy about his characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenwhitson | 8/4/2013

    " fantastically weird, classic john irving "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hermien | 4/15/2013

    " I'm a John Irving fan and this book certainly lived up to my expectations. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dawn | 4/7/2013

    " This book took me forever to read and I am glad that it is done! It was a very slow moving book and and just never got off the ground. A friend highly recommended it to me bt I just couldn't get into it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bekah | 3/27/2013

    " Painfully good and honest, just as Irving should be. I still say a silent "thank you" to my high school English teacher who introduced me to Owen Meany... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edward | 3/27/2013

    " It is classic John Irving with a host of memorable and likable characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 2/14/2013

    " Loved it. Typical Irving yarn with interesting characters and stories unfolding over time. Great escape. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 12/8/2012

    " John Irving is one of my favorite authors and I was excited to read this book, but I struggled to get into this one. Lots of standard John Irving stuff in the book, including unique and interesting characters, but the story just didn't resonate with me like his other books have. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary | 10/10/2012

    " Ever wonder what it's like to be bisexual, truly bisexual. The World of Bisexuality According to John Irving. Good read. "

About the Author

John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp, which became an international bestseller. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His novels have been translated into thirty-five languages.