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Download The Fourth Hand Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Fourth Hand, 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 (16,003 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Irving Narrator: Jason Culp Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Fourth Hand asks an interesting question: "How can anyone identify a dream of the future?" The answer: "Destiny is not imaginable, except in dreams or to those in love."

While reporting a story from India, a New York television journalist has his left hand eaten by a lion; millions of TV viewers witness the accident. In Boston, a renowned hand surgeon awaits the opportunity to perform the nation's first hand transplant; meanwhile, in the distracting aftermath of an acrimonious divorce, the surgeon is seduced by his housekeeper. A married woman in Wisconsin wants to give the one-handed reporter her husband's left hand-that is, after her husband dies. But the husband is alive, relatively young, and healthy.

This is how John Irving's tenth novel begins; it seems, at first, to be a comedy, perhaps a satire, almost certainly a sexual farce. Yet, in the end, The Fourth Hand is as realistic and emotionally moving as any of Mr. Irving's previous novels-including The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and A Widow for One Year-or his Oscar-winning screenplay of The Cider House Rules.

The Fourth Hand is characteristic of John Irving's seamless storytelling and further explores some of the author's recurring themes-loss, grief, love as redemption. But this novel also breaks new ground; it offers a penetrating look at the power of second chances and the will to change.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • [A] THOROUGHLY SATISFYING LITERARY EXPERIENCE . . . Irving’s most compassionate and redemptive [novel] to date . . . [His] mastery of characterization is unequaled in American novelists of the day. St. Louis Post Dispatch
  • A BEAUTIFUL STORY ABOUT THE REDEMPTIVE POWER OF LOVE. The Denver Post
  • A RICH AND DEEPLY MOVING TALE . . . Vintage Irving: a story of two very disparate people, and the strange and unexpected ways we grow . . . Irving’s novels are perceptive and precise reflections of the world around us. The Washington Post Book World
  • A BLEND OF SEXUAL FARCE, JOURNALISTIC SATIRE, AND TENDER LOVE STORY . . . From what at first seems bizarre, Irving builds the best kind of love story: an improbable one. Wallingford gets more than a transplanted hand; he begins to find his soul. USA Today
  • “A RIVETING ENTERTAINMENT AND CERTAINLY ONE OF THE FUNNIEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR. The authoritative control of Irving’s storytelling has never been more impressive. . . . The delighted reader is powerless to look away. Chicago Sun-Times

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Milo | 2/19/2014

    " Wavered between creative/unique and a sheer sex romp. Clearly not his best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marcie | 2/5/2014

    " Irving's imagination is just wild. Another fascinating and unusual story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by flajol | 2/3/2014

    " I just couldn't empathise or even sympathise with the character at all. Disappointed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Keith Dickson | 2/2/2014

    " Not one of his best books. I felt that he seemed to lose the interesting off the wall character that the book began with, in the second half. Almost like he ran out of interest in the characters and just finished the story off. It it unusual for his characters to be introduced and then not developed further and left up in the air at the end. "

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