The Cider House Rules: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The Cider House Rules by John Irving is a masterpiece.  Set in rural Maine, it is tells the story of Dr. Larch, an ether addict and abortionist and Homer Wells an orphan at the orphanage run by Dr. Larch.   St. Cloud is an orphanage with a difference, Dr. Larch runs the orphanage with care for his young charges.  He also performs abortions (an illegal action at the time), offering women a choice.  Homer develops a father son relationship with Dr. Larch, the older man caring for and training the younger.  While Dr. Larch is clearly pro-choice, Homer is opposed to abortion.  He leaves the orphanage with a young couple, finds love, breaks his heart and ultimately faces hard choices and trying circumstances.  But this book is so much more!  It has great heart.  Irving imbues his characters with passion, gives them moral dilemmas, and asks significant questions.  He also entertains.  John Irving can be very funny.  To write a novel on such an explosive topic with such a deft touch is genius.


— Deon Stonehouse


First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is John Irving's sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch--saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch's favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

About the Author

JOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times--winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story "Interior Space." In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person. An international writer--his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages--John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany. Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.

Praise For…

"Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying."
--Joseph Heller
Product Details
ISBN: 9780679603351
ISBN-10: 0679603352
Publisher: Modern Library
Publication Date: November 3rd, 1999
Pages: 592
Language: English
Series: Modern Library (Hardcover)