The Fourth Hand: A Novel

Written by:
John Irving
Narrated by:
Jason Culp

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2001
11 hours 18 minutes

While reporting a story from India, New York journalist Patrick Wallingford inadvertently becomes his own headline when his left hand is eaten by a lion. In Boston, a renowned surgeon eagerly awaits the opportunity to perform the nation’s first hand transplant. But what if the donor’s widow demands visitation rights with the hand? In answering this unexpected question, John Irving has written a novel that is by turns brilliantly comic and emotionally moving, offering a penetrating look at the power of second chances and the will to change.

Praise for The Fourth Hand

“A rich and deeply moving tale . . . Vintage Irving: a story of two very disparate people, and the strange and unexpected ways we grow . . . Irving’s novels are perceptive and precise reflections of the world around us.”—The Washington Post Book World

“A blend of sexual farce, journalistic satire, and tender love story . . . From what at first seems bizarre, Irving builds the best kind of love story: an improbable one. Wallingford gets more than a transplanted hand; he begins to find his soul.”—USA Today

“A riveting entertainment and certainly one of the funniest novels of the year. The authoritative control of Irving’s storytelling has never been more impressive. . . . The delighted reader is powerless to look away.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“[A] thoroughly satisfying literary experience . . . Irving’s most compassionate and redemptive [novel] to date . . . [His] mastery of characterization is unequaled in American novelists of the day.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“A beautiful story about the redemptive power of love.”—The Denver Post
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Disgusting and awful. Irving can be excellent at times (A Prayer for Owen Meany, Ciderhouse Rules, Garp for example), BUT he can also dwell in the gutter with endless boring pondering of wet dreams and grotesque sexual encounters. Do not read.

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As an aspiring writer, I find John Irving and interesting study in the joys and curses of success. Garp, Owen Meany and Cider House Rules are -- and you may thing I'm overstating this -- classics in late 20th century literature. I was pleased to see Owen Meany on the "School Summer Reading" shelf at my local bookstore. That said, Irving's other works all suffer from comparison to these three landmarks. Widow for One Year and The Fourth Hand are both commendable works of fiction. Irving's mixture of unique characters and biting situations are quite adept. This book is a "strong recommend," but will inevitably suffer by comparison. Better for readers to evaluate on it on its own merits.

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Leslie Hauser

Even as far as odd John Irving books go, this one was really, really odd. A fairly engrossing book, with some witty jabs at modern pop culture. The book focuses on Patrick Wallingford, a reporter and later anchor of a CNN-like news network who becomes known as "The Lion Guy" because of an unfortunate incident with a lion while on film. Like many other Irving novels, the story becomes so twisty and turny that it's hard to share the story without sounding like a madwoman. Intriguing, but not great overall.

The Fourth Hand: A Novel
This title is due for release on July 3, 2001.

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