Hear From John Irving On His New Novel ‘Avenue of Mysteries’

Author John Irving wrapped up a US book tour this week, saving Austin, his one stop in Texas, for last. Before he shook the dust of the Lone Star state from his heels, he sat down with the Standard to discuss his new novel “Avenue of Mysteries.”  

By Emily DonahueNovember 12, 2015 5:02 pm

What does it mean to have a recurring dream? How many of us struggle to make sense of the narratives that unfold in our minds while we sleep? Do we revisit, perhaps try to rewrite, events that happened to us in the past? The protagonist of John Irving‘s new book is driven by his dreams, his past and their intersection as he begins a new phase of his life. The book, the “Avenue of Mysteries,” hit the bookstores earlier this month.

Author John Irving says he likes to write about characters in their formative years, to see how that period of change affects the rest of their lives. “I’m interested in characters to whom something so utterly formative happens,” he says. “As they grow older, that childhood or adolescent event, that time in their life, comes alive more vividly than almost anything in their present lives.”

Irving says the protagonist of this book, Juan Diego, is at that precipice. “Frankly, I like, as a storyteller, to make something calamitous, awful, traumatic happen at that age and see how my character handles it,” Irving says.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.