The Imaginary Girlfriend

A Memoir

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The Imaginary Girlfriend is a candid memoir of the writers and wrestlers who played a role in John Irving's development as a novelist and as a wrestler. It also portrays a father's dedication—Irving coached his two sons to championship titles. It is an illuminating, concise work, a literary treasure.


Faculty Brat

In my prep-school days, at Exeter, Creative Writing wasn’t taught — the essay was all-important there — but in my years at the academy I nevertheless wrote more short stories than anything else; I showed them (out of class) to George Bennett, my best friend’s father. The...
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1. How would you describe the narrative voice in The Imaginary Girlfriend? What kind of reader do you think John Irving had in mind while writing this memoir?

2. What is the significance of the title?

3. What kind of relationship does The Imaginary Girlfriend suggest Irving has with the...

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"A masterpiece.... The generosity of spirit that marks his fiction leaks into his memoir in tender and surprising ways." Edmonton Journal

"An infectious read. I couldn't put it down once I started reading—for its emotional honesty, self-deprecating candor and, perhaps, most inviting of all, the lucidness of the prose.... The Imaginary Girlfriend confirms that he has much to share with aspiring writers, not to mention lovers of good writing." Kitchener-Waterloo Record

"Heartfelt and revealing." The Gazette

"An entertaining glimpse into one of America's most complex novelists." Toronto Sun