The Last Chairlift, John Irving

A chairlift sits above the snow facing the sunset

“When you love someone who’s different, you worry about them more-you’re always looking out for them.”

I don’t think any review I may write could do this book justice. The Cider House Rules and The Hotel New Hampshire are two of my favorite reads. I love John Irving’s storytelling style and that his books are near where I live.

This monolith comes in at over 900 pages, so it won’t be a quick read. Heavily character driven, with a meandering style of storytelling, it can take some time to get used to how the book unfolds. Sometimes, screenplay takes up portions of the chapters, which can range from 11 minutes long to 44 minutes, which can be maddening when you’re trying to find a place to stop. I didn’t much care for the screenplay portions of the story; they didn’t work for me.

The characters are what work. Adam’s family, both the ones he was born with and the ones he’s added over time, are truly special. It is in their nicknames, their actions, and their words that you come to love every one of them. We take a veritable walk through history through Adam and the eyes of the loved ones intertwined with each moment we traverse. We get an intimate look from the Vietnam War to Regan, the AIDS epidemic, and beyond.

“Not even the people you love in your own family tell you everything, and there are always the things you miss.”

I think that’s all I can really say. This is such a beautiful read. Have patience; it won’t go where you think it will and not at the pace you imagine. I read it deliciously slowly because it gave me time to absorb every moment. Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for sending this along.

Book Links (releasing tomorrow!)


About the Book

John Irving, one of the world’s greatest novelists, returns with his first novel in seven years—a ghost story, a love story, and a lifetime of sexual politics.

In Aspen, Colorado, in 1941, Rachel Brewster is a slalom skier at the National Downhill and Slalom Championships. Little Ray, as she is called, finishes nowhere near the podium, but she manages to get pregnant. Back home, in New England, Little Ray becomes a ski instructor.

Her son, Adam, grows up in a family that defies conventions and evades questions concerning the eventful past. Years later, looking for answers, Adam will go to Aspen. In the Hotel Jerome, where he was conceived, Adam will meet some ghosts; in The Last Chairlift, they aren’t the first or the last ghosts he sees.

Read this review on Goodreads and Bookbub.

A Sidenote: This might be my only post this week. It’s set to be a busy week, and I’m a bit behind on things. So if I’m unable to post another review this week, I hope everyone has a great week!


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