The wrestler: John Irving, the great American novelist

The wrestler: John Irving, the great American novelist
John Irving Picture: Bryan Meade

His novels convey an endlessly fascinating inner universe

In an ideal world, you suspect, John Irving would never have to give another interview. The great American novelist is not exactly shy or unfriendly, but he hates being constantly asked if his books are autobiographical, and feels they should really be allowed to speak for themselves. At one point during our conversation, while reflecting on the joys of being a full-time writer, he reaches over to grab my knee and quips: “Book tours notwithstanding!”

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