Irving's newest novel is a disappointment

"In One Person" by John Irving, Simon and Schuster, 448 pages, $28.

This begins when William Dean Jr. is 15 and continues for more than 50 years. He never met his father. He and his mother live in First Sister, Vermont.

His grandfather, Harry Marshall, owns a lumber mill. Bill's family is involved in the community theater. His mother is the prompter. His grandfather likes to play women's roles. Richard Abbott is hired to teach Shakespeare in the private school. He and Bill's mother marry.

"In One Person" is Irving's only novel, other than "A Prayer for Owen Meany," to be written in the first person. I was really looking forward to it because "Owen Meany" would be on my list of top 10 favorite books of all time. I am long-time John Irving fan.

"In One Person" is about bisexuality and transsexuals. I kept thinking it would get better, but it didn't. There were no great characters or wonderful plot as in Irving's earlier works, just an obsession with sex. This novel was a serious disappointment.

***

"The Song Remains the Same" by Allison Winn Scotch, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 304 pages, $27.50.

Nell Slattery wakes in a hospital. She was in a plane crash. She doesn't remember the crash. She doesn't remember anything, including her family or her life.

Anderson Carroll, an actor, was the only other person to survive the crash that killed 152 people. The flight was traveling from New York to San Francisco. Carroll says Nell, who was sitting beside him, saved his life. Nell tries to figure out what her life was before the accident.

She and her sister own an art gallery. Nell is married to Peter Horner, who tries to hide from her that they've separated because he had an affair. Nell's mother keeps trying to push her to reconcile with Peter. Nell becomes obsessed with finding her recluse father, who left when she was a teenager. He is a famous artist.

This is slow-moving and doesn't have much of a plot. The characters are one-dimensional.

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