Books: Love, Art and the Last Puritan

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving; Dutton; 437pages; $10.95

Why is an artist like a bear on a unicycle? John Irving does not have an answer; he does not even ask the question. Yet a bear does pedal through his fourth novel, in a haunting story caged within the main narrative. Since Irving's first novel was called Setting Free the Bears, the ursine connection is not inappropriate. Bears, like artists, can elicit both fascination and fear. Both can be primitive, matted, smelly and wild, and both can learn tricks, be domesticated, cleaned up...

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