Here’s a quote from a personal essay written by Irving:
In One Person is about a young bisexual man who falls in love with an older transgender woman–Miss Frost, the librarian in a Vermont public library. The bi guy is the main character, but two transgender women are the heroes of this novel–in the sense that these two characters are the ones my bisexual narrator, Billy Abbott, most looks up to.
All I can say is that it’s interesting to see this subject being tackled in mainstream/literary fiction, and it’s even more interesting to see how Irving did it.
I’ll post a full review when I’m finished. I read Irving’s books very slowly because I don’t want them to end too soon. For any writer, just examining how he does things is worth making the reading experience last. I’ve often tried to apply the same techniques to romance/erotica, often getting slammed because some don’t get what I’m doing. Or, some get it and get pissed that I’m doing it.
If it’s true that from a physical standpoint we are what we eat, then as writers I believe we are what we read. And sometimes we all need something with substance, like John Irving…if for no other reason than to let us know there’s still hope out there for publishing.
And, though I’ve been told more than once by editors younger than I am that I’m not supposed to use parentheses because it “pulls the reader out of the story,” Irving does it (and very well), so I’m going to continue to do it, too.