Until I Find You by John Irving

Until I Find You

byJohn Irving

Kobo ebook | February 24, 2009

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Until I Find You is the story of the actor Jack Burns – his life, loves, celebrity and astonishing search for the truth about his parents.

When he is four years old, Jack travels with his mother Alice, a tattoo artist, to several North Sea ports in search of his father, William Burns. From Copenhagen to Amsterdam, William, a brilliant church organist and profligate womanizer, is always a step ahead – has always just departed in a wave of scandal, with a new tattoo somewhere on his body from a local master or “scratcher.”

Alice and Jack abandon their quest, and Jack is educated at schools in Canada and New England – including, tellingly, a girls’ school in Toronto. His real education consists of his relationships with older women – from Emma Oastler, who initiates him into erotic life, to the girls of St. Hilda’s, with whom he first appears on stage, to the abusive Mrs. Machado, whom he first meets when sent to learn wrestling at a local gym.

Too much happens in this expansive, eventful novel to possibly summarize it all. Emma and Jack move to Los Angeles, where Emma becomes a successful novelist and Jack a promising actor. A host of eccentric minor characters memorably come and go, including Jack’s hilariously confused teacher the Wurtz; Michelle Maher, the girlfriend he will never forget; and a precocious child Jack finds in the back of an Audi in a restaurant parking lot. We learn about tattoo addiction and movie cross-dressing, “sleeping in the needles” and the cure for cauliflower ears. And John Irving renders his protagonist’s unusual rise through Hollywood with the same vivid detail and range of emotions he gives to the organ music Jack hears as a child in European churches. This is an absorbing and moving book about obsession and loss, truth and storytelling, the signs we carry on us and inside us, the traces we can’t get rid of.

Jack has always lived in the shadow of his absent father. But as he grows older – and when his mother dies – he starts to doubt the portrait of his father’s character she painted for him when he was a child. This is the cue for a second journey around Europe in search of his father, from Edinburgh to Switzerland, towards a conclusion of great emotional force.

A melancholy tale of deception, Until I Find Youis also a swaggering comic novel, a giant tapestry of life’s hopes. It is a masterpiece to compare with John Irving’s great novels, and restates the author’s claim to be considered the most glorious, comic, moving novelist at work today.

From the Hardcover edition.

John Irving published his first novel at the age of twenty-six. He has received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation; he has won an O. Henry Award, a National Book Award, and an Academy Award.
Title:Until I Find YouFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:February 24, 2009Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307371344

ISBN - 13:9780307371348


Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book I love this book and consider it one of John Irving's masterpiece. "Until I Find You" is the story of the actor Jack Burns and his search for the truth about his parents. When he was young he traveled with his mother Alice, a tattoo artist, in search of his father, William Burns. This book is a very long read - but 100% worth it. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but you can learn so much about tatooing from this book as a bonus.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read Warm and endearing with elements of poignancy.
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Always a Pleasure I own all of John Irving's books, so I might be a bit biased, but I loved this. I cannot agree that it is better than A Prayer for Owen Meany (it isn't) or even The World According to Garp (nope) but I do think it's a strong third, if I had to rate his books. As a Canadian, I love the effortless way he talks about locales including Toronto. As a Dane, I loved that part of this book took place in Denmark. His women characters always seem strong and determined to me - something else I love.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed I love John Irving. A Prayer for Owen Meany is my favourite book of ALL TIME. But this novel - though the characters were well written, and I even laughed during some sections - seemed more about a 'penis fixation' than anything else. I lasted until page 370, thinking that something new and fresh might happen, but I got tired of the overriding 'one note' theme, and really couldn't see myself sticking through until the end, and so I didn't.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Until i find you Not my favourite John Irving novel. It felt more like a rehash of earlier work rather than something fresh and new.
Date published: 2015-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My first Irving Novel I was totally taken by this novel. It drew me in from the first to the last chapter. I found the characters realistic and well written. This will definately not be my last novel by John Irving
Date published: 2009-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LIke a vintage bottle of Scotch Hmm...does this novel surpass "A Prayer for Owen Meany?" Maybe, but at worst it is #2 on the best of John Irving list (edging out "A Son of the Circus" at #3 and "The World According to Garp' at #4). For readers not familiar with John Irving's work, the foregoing was probably not very useful. This would be an excellent novel to read as your first (but probably not last) Irving. Loved the story, the locales (Toronto, Copenhagen, Oslo, Zurich, Los Angeles) and the characters. The Irving triad of Religion-Sex-Wresting is further explored alongside the world of tattoo artists and patrons. One of the quickest and easiest 700+ pages I have read in a long time - it was difficult to slow down and linger over because it was so good and I had to find out what happened to Jack. I was searching for a comparison but am inclined to agree with the review on the cover: "No one else writes like him."
Date published: 2008-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Admittedly, I love almost everything he writes...but this one is truly amazing.
Date published: 2007-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I loved 98% of this book. I was so completely captured by this book. I loved the characters and the story. My only critizism is that I felt that the end of the book was too rushed. I would have loved another 20 pages...perhaps another chapter 6 months after the end of the book would have done it for me. Other then that.....it was a real page turner. This was my first experience with a John Irving novel and I was truely pleased. Can't wait for the next book.
Date published: 2006-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I only have one word.....WOW! Before I read "Until I Find You", I read my first Irving novel, "A Widow For One Year". I was completely fascinated by Irving's story writing abilities. I simply could not put it down. I was skeptical at first at the sheer magnitude of this book, but I thought I'd give it a try. Boy am I glad I did!!!! It sucked me in early on and I sped through it! I could not wait until the end when everything would be resolved. I would recommend this book to any Irving fan!!!!!! It is a MUST READ! Irving has quickly become one of my favorite authors! When you get to the last page of "Until I Find You", you want to go right back to page one and start it all over again, wishing you were again reading his words for the first time....
Date published: 2006-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another HappySadTragicFun offering by Irving First, an admission - I am a big John Irving fan. I love the way one gets swept up in his weird tales. He writes the kind of books we all love, the ones where you hate to see the end drawing near and yet you cannot slow down because you are too caught up in the story. Until I Find You follows in that tradition. While it is not his best (my personal favourite is A Widow For One Year), it is a very good tale that. Revolving around the main character's search for his father, Irving guides you through a world of tattoo artists, church organ players and the occasional wrestler. A definite must read.
Date published: 2006-06-15