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Ik ben verslaafd aan boeken. Hieronder kan je mijn volledige lijst vinden van gelezen fictie-boeken die in mijn boekenkast. Van sommige boeken kan je zelfs een korte bespreking vinden.
Fourth Hand, The

Fourth Hand, The


John Irving

Eerste Uitgave





Random House






11 uur 15 minuten






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.


An enjoyable read

While reporting a story from an Indian circus, Patrick Wallingford a television journalist has his left hand bitten off by a lion. This most dreadful event of his life is sadly enough witnessed by millions of TV viewers. From that moment on people start to call him "The Lion Guy". When he decides to have a 'new' hand the public interest becomes even greater and his career seems to be guaranteed. The viewers of his all-news network, better known as the "calamity channel", are eagerly anticipating a first view of his new hand. But what if the donor's widow demands visitation rights with the hand?

In his tenth novel John Irving explores the answer to this question using his unique imaginative powers. Although the topic looks promising and a lot of the possibilities are neatly worked out, there are some weak points that make this book rather mediocre when compared to the "The World According to Garp" and "A Widow For One Year".

The opening sequence, set in a circus fans may remember from "A Son of the Circus", is extremely powerful and engulfs the reader in an almost absurd parallel universe that nevertheless seems so utterly recognisable. Irving at his best plays with his characters and gives them each a compelling weakness that makes them so real, in an Irving kind of way, that is. Surely this strong opening is more than a good reason for opening this book.

But the aftermath of the story fails where the first part excels. The author digs deeper into the personalities and makes them more realistic, more human. The absurd undertone of the first part slowly dies away, and I fear that this also loosens the grip on the reader's attention.

The book is still a nice enough read, but it is a pity that Irving fails to deliver at the end.