The Cider House Rules by John Irving, revisited

I reviewed this earlier, but I gave it a somewhat negative review, and after I had time to think about this book some more I changed my mind about it. This is actually a beautifully written novel. I was a bit turned off by how slow it was at first, but contrary to expectations the story was actually leading somewhere, and leading somewhere in a big way. This is a story that reminds one of what Kierkegaard said about life, that it can only be lived forward but can only be understood looking back. Looking back on this story, I think I understand it better now. If you are pro-life, as I am, the story’s central theme may bother you, but if you can get past that then I think you will be impressed by Irving’s narrative craftsmanship. A lot of the seeming pointlessness of the story arc is resolved in the final chapter, and the conclusion is quite powerful. I hope my earlier review doesn’t turn anyone off from reading it. It’s worth the time.

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