Powerful and political, with unforgettable characters and timeless themes, The World According to Garp is John Irving’s breakout novel. The precursor of Irving’s later protest novels, it is the story of Jenny, an unmarried nurse who becomes a single mom and a feminist leader, beloved but polarizing—and of her son, Garp, less beloved but no less polarizing.
From the tragicomic tone of its first sentence to its mordantly funny last line—“we are all terminal cases”—The World According to Garp maintains a breakneck pace. The subject of sexual hatred and violence—of intolerance of sexual minorities, and sexual differences—runs through the book, as relevant now as ever. Available in more than forty countries—with more than ten million copies in print—Garp is a comedy with forebodings of doom.