Sunday, August 7, 2011

The World According to Garp: A review

I've been reading a lot lately. Quick update: I quit work on 17th june, and have been chilling at home in Mysore for a couple of months. It's gratifying to some extent as I can afford to wake up around lunch time and wonder: How much do I not do today?
Recently, I read Irving's "The 158 pound Marriage" and was blown away, as a result of which my Irving obsession was born. I had heard a lot of things about "The World according to Garp", and was getting started on it with the right expectations.
When One decides to read Irving, It is important to note that there will be a lot of Sexuality. Simply put,It is his forte. There will also be a lot of Vienna and Wrestling to go with it just to stir the pot a bit. The World According to Garp is one of the best novels I have ever read. I don't care much for plots and adrenalin rushes. Such things are reserved for Forsyth novels (A genre I have archived years back). Sure, one may find the occasional novel with a few twists and turns, a high speed chase, a murder mystery where we're led on to believe that a certain someone is a wrong suspect, or a Real Life Drama about the strings of Love and Trust, and how these 'words' play out quite wonderfully on paper. But to me, a real killer novel is one with a deep character analysis, one that allows us to invoke "imagery" to such an extent that we can actually 'see' emotions.

The first bit of the book is about Jenny Fields, A nurse based out of Boston who is content being a nurse. She despises men, considers them a social stigma. She doesn't understand lust, the need for it, the effects, the result. Jenny decides to have a baby. But she doesn't want anything to do with the father. Thus is born T.S Garp, a Bastard who is never told who the Father is. Jenny Fields raises him on her own. Garp's trysts with Sex start in Vienna, the city where Jenny pens her autobiography, one that makes her famous and helps garner a prominent feminist movement. Jenny writes: " I wanted a job and I wanted to live alone. That made me a sexual suspect. Then I wanted a baby, but I didn't want to share my body or my life to have one. That made me a sexual suspect, too." The book gives Jenny all the feminist support in the World, described with much ardour by Irving. Her fame also spells her downfall, which is to be expected because if you have feminism, you have anti-feminism as well.
I feel that Jenny's way of Life slowly but surely reaches out to Garp and his way of thinking. At one point, When Garp is spotted at a feminist funeral (Though he tried his best at Crossdressing), He tries to quickly hail a taxi outside. the Driver, unaware of course of his sex, tries to chat him up. Garp felt violated and uncomfortable, perhaps a reminder to him about how women are targeted on a daily basis.
Garp is an author as well. His world is manifested in his work. His fears aplenty. Garp is constantly reminded about loss. You can sense as you read along that His fears are Irving's fears.
I don't think I can even write about the relevance of this book in this day and age. I think Garp is trying to tell us to all worry. To worry about the future, to worry about people close to us and people that matter. To worry about love, marriage and Death.
Garp's obsession with death never ceases to amaze me. I think it echoes through us all.
I also think one should buy the book asap and read along:
Flipkart link

I also believe all of you'll will agree that 'In the World according to Garp', we are indeed terminal cases!