John Irving stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers to discuss his latest novel, The Last Chairlift.

Irving’s book, published last month by Simon & Schuster, follows a writer who travels to Aspen, Colorado, to uncover the identity of his biological father. A critic for Kirkus called it “a book that will try a reader’s patience but may also reward it.”

Meyers asked Irving if he knew that the novel, which has a page count of 912, would end up being his longest book.

“I knew it would be long,” Irving said. “I didn’t know it would be longer than Bleak House, almost as long as David Copperfield. But when you follow the lives of the main character’s extended family—his cousin, her girlfriend, his mother, her girlfriend, and the stepfather who transitions to female—you have a lot of lives to follow, and it’s my intention to take each of those characters to an ending.”

Meyers noted that the protagonist of the novel is a straight man who’s surrounded by LGBTQ+ characters.

“It was certainly my intention to make him the odd guy out, to make him the queer member of the family, ‘queer’ in the sense of strange and not up to speed,” Irving said. “He is the slowest member of his extended family. He’s learning from all the rest of these people. And I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone that he’s also, as the only straight guy, the most badly behaved sexually.”

Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.