Books: Trumper's Complaint

THE WATER-METHOD MAN

by JOHN IRVING

365 pages. Random House. $6.95.

In John Irving's fine first novel, Setting Free the Bears, two Vienna University students plan to reform the world by liberating the animals in Vienna's Hietzinger Zoo. Now he offers the dislocated odyssey of an Iowa University graduate student who seems to be helplessly bound for self-destruction.

Irving's easily daunted hero is Fred ("Bogus") Trumper, a monumental procrastinator with a talent for bungling. Bogus' hardscrabble effort to support his wife "Biggie" and infant son Colm by selling football pins and pennants is thwarted...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!