In One Person

Publisher: Vintage Canada

His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving's In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love--tormented, funny and affecting--and an intimate, unforgettable portrait of the novel's bisexual narrator and main character, Billy Abbott.

In One Person is a glorious ode to sexual difference, a poignant story of a life that no reader will be able to forget, a book that no one else could have written. Utterly contemporary and topical in its themes, In One Person grapples with the mysteries of identity and the multiple tragedies of the AIDS epidemic, and with everything that has changed in our sexual life over the last 50 years and everything that still needs to. It's also one of Irving's most sincere and human novels, a book imbued on every page with a spirit of openness that expands and challenges the reader's world.


I’m going to begin by telling you about Miss Frost. While I say to everyone that I became a writer because I read a certain novel by Charles Dickens at the formative age of fifteen, the truth is I was younger than that when I first met Miss Frost and imagined having sex with her, and this moment of my sexual...

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1. “Goodness me, what makes a man?” asks Miss Frost. What makes a man, or a woman, in In One Person? Discuss, with reference to as many characters as possible.

2. What are some of the different meanings of the title In One Person?

3. “All children learn to speak in codes....

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Longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 
Finalist for the Lambda Literary Bisexual Literature Award
A New York Times Notable Book

"'Fullness of heart,' a quality Irving has praised in Dickens, is one of [In One Person's] many virtues, and the reader is swept along by the histories it tells.... John Irving understands plotting as few other living American writers do." The New York Review of Books

"Deeply affecting.... [A] novel that reaffirms the centrality of Irving as the voice of social justice and compassion in contemporary American literature." Steven Hayward, The Globe and Mail

"Memorable.... Powerful and timely." CBC Books

"An important book that will become, over time, a cultural standard." The Washington Independent Review of Books