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The Water-method Man


The Water-method Man

Bogus Trumper is a University of Iowa graduate student, married,
broke, father of a young son and not very happy. THE WATER-METHOD
MAN jumps back and forth between a later time when he is divorced,
single, living in New York, broke and more or less happy with a new
girlfriend. He is plagued through all of this with a demanding
father, a troublesome mild birth defect in the form of a urinary
disorder that requires him to consume vast quantities of water ---
thus the title.

Bogus can be counted on to follow the path of least resistance. He
succumbs to many temptations while still married, runs when he
should fight --- literally and figuratively --- and in a fit of
cowardice and indecision, decides on the easiest of the three
treatments for his urinary disorder. THE WATER-METHOD MAN follows
Bogus on his journey to grow up and take responsibility for his

John Irving's second novel, written in 1972, features a character
with what will become a hallmark of Irving's books in subsequent
novels --- a flawed personality, or physical or mental failing. It
is these peccadilloes that define the lives of his characters ---
their motivation to behave in often outrageous and frequently
hilarious ways. Written in the first person, as are about half of
Irving's novels, the use of flashbacks is perhaps not as skillfully
developed as in later works, but nonetheless serves to spin a very
readable tale of how Bogus sorts out the mishmash of his life. For
Irving fans, THE WATER-METHOD MAN is an enjoyable read and a chance
to observe the great novelist-in-making in a very credible

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 24, 2011

The Water-method Man
by John Irving

  • Publication Date: June 13, 1990
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345367421
  • ISBN-13: 9780345367426