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Extended Audio Sample In One Person: A Novel, by John Irving Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (8,756 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Irving Narrator: John Benjamin Hickey Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp.

In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

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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.”

    Time

  • 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.”

    Esquire

  • 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.”

    Elle

  • “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 Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Allan Clark | 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 by Nancy Rosenthal | 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 by 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 by 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." "

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