John Irving Fond of Well-Written Fiction, That Happens to be Gay


The National Post reports on a recent interview by Nashville Scene with writer John Irving in which the Cider House Rules author John Irving trashes writers J.D. Salinger and Tom Wolfe, but lights up when talking about gay author Edmund White.

BosThe Post‘s report didn’t offer much more so I tracked down the original interview, which offered some interesting insight into Irving and readers of gay fiction.

Said Irving: “I love Edmund White. Every time I read a new book of his, I am reminded of a previous book of his, which I then reread. I’ve interrupted Hotel de Dream to reread White’s novel A Boy’s Own Story, which I love, and White’s autobiography My Lives. He’s a wonderful writer. We’re the same age, and I remember when I first read A Boy’s Own Story—in the early 1980s—and I thought that the novel spoke much more to me about a boy coming of age (even though it’s about a gay boy coming of age, and I’m not gay) than The Catcher in the Rye ever did. I reread The Catcher in the Rye recently, and it doesn’t hold up at all; it’s just not very well, or very consistently, written. But A Boy’s Own Story is beautifully wrought, and fiercely defiant; I could reread that novel every year and find something terrific I had missed in a previous reading. I believe Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he’s certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most.”