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“Detail[s] Irving’s parallel careers of writing and wrestling . . . with anecdotes that are every bit as hilarious as the antics in his novels” (The Denver Post).
Dedicated to the memory of two wrestling coaches and two writer friends, The Imaginary Girlfriend is John Irving’s candid memoir of his twin careers in writing and wrestling. The award-winning author of bestselling novels from The World According to Garp to Avenue of Mysteries, Irving began writing when he was fourteen, the same age at which he began to wrestle at Exeter. From those early days until his fourth wrestling-related surgery at the age of fifty-three, he explores the interrelationship between the two disciplines.
Writing as a father and mentor, Irving offers a lucid portrait of those writers and wrestlers—from Kurt Vonnegut to Ted Seabrooke—who guided him in his own development as a novelist, wrestler, and wrestling coach. As The Denver Post observed, this memoir is “a rich, wonderful, and diverse look into the creative mind of one of America’s most imaginative and passionate novelists.”
“The nearest thing to an autobiography Irving has written . . . Worth saving and savoring.” —The Seattle Times
“Irving’s wrestling coaches, his writing mentors, and his family are vivid, inviting readers into a colorful world.” —USA Today
“A masterpiece . . . The generosity of spirit that marks his fiction leaks into his memoir in tender and surprising ways.” —Edmonton Journal