John Irving Readalikes

John Irving’s novels present life as both comically absurd and inescapably tragic.  There’s a frequent confrontation with contemporary issues, such as feminism, adultery, and abortion, as well as an embrace of such humane impulses as the rescuing of victims and guarding of loved ones.  Though the situations are often highly unusual, the characters are believable. The following titles have similarities to the work of John Irving in having a similar conversational tone, motifs, or overall theme.  All of these titles are located in the Adult Fiction section of the Library unless otherwise noted.


Baker, Larry. The Flamingo Rising.1997.

Baxter, Charles. The Feast of Love. 2000.

Bohjalian, Chris. The Buffalo Soldier. 2002.

Boyle, T. Coraghessan. The Inner Circle. 2004.

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. 2000.
     Also available: CD, eAudiobook

Cheever, John. The Wapshot Chronicle. 2003.

Coomer, Joe. The Loop. 1992.

Dalton, John. The Inverted Forest. 2011.

Dobyns, Stephen. The Wrestler’s Cruel Study. 1993.

Dufresne, John. Love Warps the Mind A Little. 1997.

Duncan, David James. The Brothers K. 1992.
     Also available: eAudiobook

Dunn, Katherine. Geek Love. 1989.

Galloway, Steven. Finnie Walsh. 2000.

Gowdy, Barbara. Mister Sandman. 1996.

Grass, Gunter. The Tin Drum. 1962.

Harbach, Chad. The Art of Fielding. 2011.
     Also available: Large Type

Hassler, John. Rookery Blues. 1995.

Hoffman, Alice. The River King. 2000.
     Also available: Large Type, eBook, eAudiobook

Johnston, Wayne. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. 1998.

Kokoris, Jim. The Pursuit of Other Interests. 2009.

McCracken, Elizabeth. The Giant’s House. 1996.
     Also available: Large Type

Moody, Rick. The Ice Storm. 1994.

Mosher, Howard Frank. The Fall of the Year. 1999.

Powers, Richard. The Gold Bug Variations. 1991.

Raymo, Chet. The Dork of Cork. 1993.

Richler, Mordecai. Barney’s Version. 1997.

Robbins, Tom. Another Roadside Attraction. 1971.

Russo, Richard. Empire Falls. 2001.
     Also available: Large Type

Russo, Richard. Nobody’s Fool. 1993.

Russo, Richard. The Risk Pool. 1998.

Russo, Richard. Straight Man. 1997.
     Also available: CD, eAudiobook

Shields, Carol. Larry’s Party. 1997.

Toole, John Kennedy. A Confederacy of Dunces. 1980.
     Also available: CD, eAudiobook

Tyler, Anne. The Accidental Tourist. 1985.
     Also available: Large Type, CD, eBook

Udall, Brady. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. 2001.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. 1968.
     Also available: CD, eBook