Setting Free the Bears: A Novel

Setting Free the Bears: A Novel

by John Irving

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“Truly remarkable . . . encompasses the longings and agonies of youth . . . a complex and moving novel.”—Time

“Astonishing . . . a writer of uncommon imaginative power. Whatever [John Irving] writes, it will be worth reading.”—Saturday Review

It is 1967. Two Viennese university students, Siggy and Hannes, roam the Austrian countryside on their motorcycles—on a quest: to liberate the bears of the Vienna Zoo. But their good intentions have both comic and gruesome consequences in this first novel from John Irving, already a master storyteller at twenty-five years old.

“Imagine a mixture of Till Eulenspiegel and Ken Kesey . . . and you've got the range of the merry pranksters who hot rod through Mr. Irving's book . . . tossing flowers, stealing salt shakers, and planning the biggest caper of their young lives.”—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984800084
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 443,514
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

John Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules—a film with seven Academy Award nominations.



Date of Birth:

March 2, 1942

Place of Birth:

Exeter, New Hampshire


B.A., University of New Hampshire, 1965; also studied at University of Vienna; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1967

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Setting Free the Bears 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of John Irving but this, his first novel, is not his best work. ~*~LEB~*~
jorgearanda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although Setting Free the Bears has some great moments of inspiration, their build-up is rather dull and weak. But the book poses good questions about youth, its energy, its foolhardiness and its contradictions, and its answers are quite problematic.
SimoneA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of John Irving's work, it may be worthwhile to read this book, his first novel. It contains some of the themes which will return a lot in his later books, but I actually like that they are a bit less prominent here. Because of this, Setting Free the Bears is not a typical Irving book and therefore a nice diversion from his later books.
rcooper3589 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
well, first off: i love john irving, so i started reading this book already loving it. it took me a little longer to get into this book than his others, but it was still a good one. being his first book, you can tell he's being cautious and holding back. there were many moments where i expected more from the situation and while there were hints of his normal themes (lack of father, lust, etc.)they weren't as strong as they normally are. i'm also unsure if i completely understood the book. i mean, i think i have an idea about what it was "about," but i just don't know... what's really weird is how many dreams i had that contained things from the book. i cant tell you how many dreams i've had over the last few weeks that took place in germany during or around ww two... then, to top it off i was watching the news the other day and the lead story had to do with an escaped black bear running around people's backyards... really, what are the chances? all in all, this was a good book, but not one of my favorite john irving books.
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