A commemorative hardcover edition of the only collection ever published of the celebrated novelist's shorter works.
Here is a treat for devoted fans of John Irving. First published twenty years ago, Trying to Save Piggy Sneed contains a dozen short works by the author, beginning with three memoirs. The longest of the memoirs is "The Imaginary Girlfriend," his candid account of his twin careers in writing and wrestling, which, as the Denver Post observed, is filled "with anecdotes that are every bit as hilarious as the antics in his novels . . . [and] combines the lessons of both obsessions."
The middle portion of the book is fiction. Over a career that spans thirteen novels, these are the six stories that Mr. Irving considers finished. Among them is "Interior Space," for which he won the O. Henry Award. In the third and final section are three homages: one to Günter Grass and two to Charles Dickens. To each of the twelve pieces, he has contributed author's notes, which provide some perspective on the circumstances surrounding the writing of each piece. For readers who prefer a hardcover, this commemorative edition is a book to treasure. For new readers, it is a perfect introduction to the author of works as moving and mischievous as The World According to Garp,A Prayer for Owen Meany, and In One Person.
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction—novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Irving proves himself, once again, a garrulous and engaging raconteur in this collection of fiction and nonfiction divided into three sections: Memoirs, Fiction and Homage. In the last, while admiring the work of Gunter Grass, he notes that ``Grass is never so insecure as to be polite.'' Given Irving's fascination with the malfunctioning or assaulted human body, one can't help feeling that he's defending his own work--both acne (in the story, ``Brennbar's Rant'') and genital warts (the O. Henry Prize-winning ``Interior Space'') figure in these pages. Sometimes, however, Irving's grotesquerie lacks the compassion with which his favorite writer, Dickens, moderated his caricatures. In the title essay (in which Irving relates his discovery of the powers of fiction-making), Piggy Sneed, the retarded garbage collector and pig farmer whose disappearance stimulates Irving's imagination, is harshly ridiculed: Sneed ``smelled worse than any man I ever smelled--with the possible exception of a dead man I caught the scent of, once, in Istanbul.'' There are other, more engaging pieces: an amusing account of a dinner at the Reagan White House; an early, sentimental story, ``Weary Kingdom,'' about a lonely woman; and, best of all, ``The Imaginary Girlfriend,'' a rambling autobiographical sketch with a heavy emphasis on the mentors and rivals who shaped Irving's defining obsessions--wrestling and writing. Each of the 12 sections is followed by ``Author's Notes''; ``The Imaginary Girlfriend'' is supplemented with personal photographs (not seen by PW). 150,000 first printing; BOMC selection; author tour.