November Book Club: "Avenue of Mysteries"

Join the Living Book Club this month as we delve into John Irving's 14th novel, "Avenue of Mysteries."

Assistant Editor
Photography by: Bryan Gardner

While bookstore browsing is never a waste of time, we can save you a trip this month by recommending John Irving's new book, "Avenue of Mysteries" (Simon & Schuster). The celebrated American author has captivated us before with "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and "The Cider House Rules." This time we follow a man, Juan Diego, and his mind-reading sister as the book explores how memories can affect and manipulate the future. When Diego goes off his heart medication on a trip to the Philippines, he begins to have vivid dreams of his childhood in Mexico that feel more real than his present.


We're sneaking in a few pages between meetings, but we can't wait to really get into it over the Thanksgiving break. Be sure to toss our November pick in your bag when packing for home this holiday season.




In “Avenue of Mysteries,” Juan Diego -- a 14-year-old boy, who was born and grew up in Mexico -- has a 13-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she thinks she sees what's coming -- specifically, her own future and her brother's. Lupe is a mind reader; she doesn't know what everyone is thinking, but she knows what most people are thinking. Regarding what has happened, as opposed to what will, Lupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you.

Lupe doesn't know the future as accurately. But consider what a terrible burden it is if you believe you know the future -- especially your own future, or, even worse, the future of someone you love. What might a 13-year-old girl be driven to do if she thought she could change the future?

As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. As we grow older -- most of all, in what we remember and what we dream -- we live in the past. Sometimes, we live more vividly in the past than in the present.

“Avenue of Mysteries” is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past -- in Mexico -- collides with his future.



Did you hit the bookstore this month? Let us know what you snagged and if we should be reading it too!


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