Setting Free the Bears

Setting Free the Bears➼ [Reading] ➾ Setting Free the Bears By John Irving ➱ – It is 1967 and two Viennese university students want to liberate the Vienna Zoo as was done after World War II But their good intentions have both comic and gruesome conseuences in this first novel wr It is and two Viennese university students want to liberate the Vienna Zoo as was done after World War II But their good intentions have both comic and gruesome conseuences in this first novel written by a twenty five year old John Irving already a master storyteller. Book #1 in my John Irving Challenge 2017 wherein I will attempt to read all of John Irving's novels in order of publication within one yearI think this sums up my experience with this novel nicely A character dies on page 90 and I did not realize he was dead until page 212 Suffice it to say I did not enjoy reading this book I dug the first 90 pages with their wacky happenstance and uirky characters but after that everything went to shit The narrative becomes disjointed and a cogent story devolves into part history lesson part study in tedium I never did come to give a single shit about Siggy Graff was an okay dude but Siggy was annoying The middle hundred pages are pure torture to get through At times it took me an hour to read only twenty pages because I just didn't give a shit The ending was fun in a chaotic way but I do wonder how people who read this when it first came out felt what with them not having the internet to look up all these animals Irving names I say names because he only names them One or two he might give a broader description but I for one had no idea what an aoudad anoa and addax were nor did I have a fucking clue what a gerenuk gemsbok or gaur were He goes on to describe a gaur as one of the tallest oxen in the world but what the holy fuck are the other five he listed? Yes person reading this review I can very well hop over to Google and search for these things and I did do just that But how the hell did readers in 1968 do it? You'd have to be one of those rich kids with a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica to know what all he's talking about Or you can just imagine a zoo full of rampaging animals I guess Whatever It got on my nerves having to stop reading in order to Google animals so I knew what he was talking about What made it even annoying was having to stop reading IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION so I could clearly picture this crazy cast of animalsI'm glad I know Irving gets better over the course of his career Because had I first read this book in 1968 I likely never would have read this author againIn summation Nowadays every debut novel that comes out has someone barking ERMAGERD I CAN'T BEREAVE DIS A FURST NOVELS Well this is one of the rare first novels that feels like a first novel Only recommended for Irving completionistsFinal Judgment Reuires a masters degree in biology or complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica to fully enjoy Like many people I have read and enjoyed some of John Irving's novels My particular favourites were A Prayer for Owen Meany The World According to Garp and A Son Of The CircusPerhaps not as well known is his debut novel Setting Free the Bears Disaffected student Hannes Graff hooks up with free wheeling motorcycle enthusiast Siegfried Siggy Javotnik and they embark on a picaresue jaunt across Austria encountering many odd individuals both human and otherwise along the way Javotnik has a pet project which has developed into a strange obsession He wishes to repeat a wild stunt that had been pulled off once before to liberate all the animals from the Heitzinger Zoo in Vienna Circumstances intervene and the mantle is passed to GraffIrving had studied in Vienna and the first draft of this novel was later submitted as a Master's thesis at the University of Iowa He satirizes this fact in the novel itself Javotnik submits his Highly Selective Autobiography to a professor only to have it angrily rejected as being a skewed portrayal of history The structure of the novel appears fragmented Parts One and Three contain titled segments which are too short to be chapters Part Two contains selections from the journals of Siggy Javotnik which alternate between two narratives One tells how he stakes out the Heitzinger Zoo while the other relates not only his own life story but the circumstances which brought his parents together in war torn Vienna The fragmented effect is somewhat irritating to me but Irving does manage to tie the threads together and produce a funny yet disturbing climax The novel has many elements which work successfully in Irving's later books Irving has been compared to Dickens because he is able to present the eccentricities of his characters in a humorous way He is also able to present the thoughts or emotions not only of humans but of animals as well Moreover many of the themes which appear in his succeeding books make their first appearance here the setting of Vienna captive bears bizarre accidents absent parents and characters whose highly charged libidos torment them constantly Yet the novel has a feel of insouciance and cockiness about it I can't really put my finger on it but it did not impress me as much as some of the later works I have mentioned above This was Irving’s debut and although you can see seeds of the Dickensian characterization at which he excels in his best work it was just not good overall Neither Siggy nor Graff held my interest and the dialogue feels stiff and unrealistic There’s also some downright strange wording “I could peek how the helmet nearly covered her eyes”; “the rain still puddled the courtyard”; “When his spongy ribs whomped the cobbles the horse said ‘ Gnif’” I couldn’t decide if this was Irving trying to show that the story is set abroad or if it was just evidence of bad writing My husband is enough of an Irving fan to have gobbled the book up by the time we reached Austria but I decided it wasn’t going to get much better That’s a shame as I would have liked to get to them you know actually setting free the bears at the Vienna Zoo Read the first 75 pages out of 384 I had high hopes for this book because I've loved everything else by John Irving This book is bad really bad It was so bad I couldn't even finish it It's been than 20 years since I first read this book and I'm happy I did the re readThis is John Irving's debut novel and right from the start it's clear he is a major talent His inventiveness his ability to engage the reader and his ability to bring the reader into the characters' world is amazingHannes and Siggy start out on a late 60's motorcycle road trip leaving Vienna behind but somewhat obsessed about the plight of the animals in the Vienna Zoo After a few misadventures Siggy leaves this earth and Hannes inherits his notebooks filled with reconnaissance of the zoo and inspiration for liberating the animals After hooking up with young and bright eyed Gallen Hannes brings his new girlfriend to Vienna and they execute a zoo break that heads in a direction they couldn't foreseeIrving uses the device of Siggy's notebooks to take the reader on an adventure of zoo liberation but also gives an extensive history of the German Austrian Anschluss as experienced by Siggy and his family Again it is a testimony to Irving's talent how he manages to weave together these story lines and keeps you turning pages to the end If you're an Irving fan be sure to check out this debut novel it's worth the read I uit on this book The first hundred pages which involve an adventure through Austria by two young lads on a motorcycle is enjoyable if a little vapid The remaining 250 pages which changes dramatically in tone and format is excerpts from a diary of one of those two guys and is painfully dull to read I struggled through 100 pages of this wanting to get back to the narrative but it didn't come and so I uit There are too many good books around to waste your time on something as unremarkable and unpolished as this I figure The jacket had promised a mixture of Til Eugenspeil and Ken Kesey Okay I haven't read Eugenspiel but I'm not sure what about Irving's writing here bears comparison with Kesey Irvings prose is flat and childish nothing like the rich textured world that Kesey can paint The perversion and absurdity of this story could only possibly mean one thing That is is an Irving tale'Setting Free the Bears' was entertaining for exactly the same reasons that I have enjoyed everything I have ever read by Irving since first picking up Owen Meany in highschool middleschool?The long rather drawn out tale of Siggy's 'pre history' as found in his notebook is well rather long and drawn out Though it is tough to get through this point is acknowledged by the author as part of the character himself so I guess I'll cut him some slack Even so it took my two separate tries to get through this book I remember starting it years ago and simply never getting further than a few pages into the notebook Understandably so But lock a man up in Korea for a year and he's bound to read anything you throw at him so I figured I'd tough through it this time Thankfully I felt my time was rewardedWhat I simply do not grasp is how a young man of only 25 can just sort of 'bang out' such a remarkably intricate tale I'm sure it has much to do with writing and rewriting yet I still firmly belive that some people Irving being one of them were just born to share words with othersWho knows perhaps I'll get around to the Cider House Rules that I bought once upon a time and never cracked open John Irving is my favorite author This may be surprising to some because I am not what I consider the LL Bean preppy type in my opinion anyway I decided to read his first book after giving up on his last one I decided why not start at the very beginning and start over again John Irving has some reoccurring themes in his books bears accidents strange sexual behavior There is a good illustrative graph if you Wiki John Irving This book is no exception except for one theme which is MOTORCYCLES This book is preoccupied with MOTORCYCLES in the same way Slaughter House 5 is concerned with the bombing of Dresden What I appreciate is that I never suspected as I read the story that he would go on and on about motorcycles but he finds a way to include them in sometimes absurd ways I felt like I learned a lot about them Useless stuff mostly how they sound how they suck air what it feels like to burn your legs on a tailpipe what types of motorcycles the Vermacht used how you should always use your front brake how to best toss a grenade under a parked car while driving one the list goes on and on I did not give this book five stars I would give a few of his books 5 stars but this one lacked something his best work has Maybe it is that it isn't uite outrageous enough I would love to have someone who knows something about the workings of MOTORCYCLES read this book and tell me if he is full of scheiße Irving's first shows signs of great storytelling to come but is awkward and silly at times Recommended for completeists This makes me sad to admit but John Irving´s books have been such disappointments lately and I used to consider him one of my favorite authors The ones I´ve read recently are boring reading them feels like a chore instead of a gripping enjoyment Setting Free the Bears has a similar style to Irving´s later novels and it even features some of the elements like bears that seem to always come up in his stories The history parts especially have some funny bits but I found the women to be written extremely poorly and even the main characters couldn´t hold my interest It was nearly impossible to create any connection to them I really hope I´ll find gems by John Irving or else I´ll stop searching It feels like I either absolutely adore his stories or almost despise them Right now I´d be happy to come across something I´d at least enjoy

Setting Free the Bears PDF/EPUB ¾ Setting Free
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • Setting Free the Bears
  • John Irving
  • English
  • 01 May 2015
  • 9780345367419