THE WATER-METHOD MAN by John Irving

THE WATER-METHOD MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

John Irving is the hypermotor young man who wrote Setting Free the Bears and this is about another one -- volatile, confident but lost, all on the surface since he doesn't "convey" anything, and on some special frequency which doesn't relate to much unless it might be Moby Dick, another grandiose geyser. The literal symbolism throughout will be apparent from the very beginning when Fred "Bogus" Trumper is told to try the water-method to relieve his functional nonspecific urethritis -- in fact as nonspecific as he is. At the close, he has had an operation on his membrum virile which will help him to spout as normally as anything else. In between you will follow the parallel lines of the wife and child he left, regretting the latter; his studies in comparative literature (old "low Norse"); his relationship with Tolpen who loves him and bears him a child and mourns his instability; his participation in a film documentary (Fucking Up); and his attempt to find his old friend lost on the continent who is an ex-everything including hero. Irving's story is much more cleverly coordinated than you might suspect from the above -- like Bogus' movie which one critic "fumbled to articulate." It is also exhausting, writ large in the blunt script of a Magic Marker, almost as if by a child whom you would like to consign to a corner for five quiet minutes. But then a very likable, imaginative child, with a tremendous comic drive.
Pub Date: June 5th, 1972
ISBN: 034541800X
Page count: 294pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1972




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