Until I Find You

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Until I Find You
First edition cover
Author John Irving
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date
July 12, 2005
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 848 pp
ISBN 1-4000-6383-3
OCLC 58431902
813/.54 22
LC Class PS3559.R8 U58 2005
Preceded by The Fourth Hand
Followed by Last Night in Twisted River

Until I Find You (2005) is the 11th published novel by John Irving. The novel was originally written in first person and only changed 10 months before publication. After realizing that so much of the material—childhood sexual abuse and a long-lost father who eventually ends up in a mental institution—was too close to his own experiences, Irving postponed publication of the novel while he rewrote it entirely in third person.

The cover is a close-up photo/illustration of the side of a woman's breast, with a tattoo on it (as in the novel). The American publisher requested their version be a very close shot of the side of the breast, so the body part in question wouldn't be readily identifiable, and therefore would not offend readers or passersby in the bookstore. The Canadian dust jacket features a close-up that is more readily identifiable as the side of a woman's breast (and is the dust jacket Irving prefers).


While the novel uses many of the themes and plot devices that have already seen treatment in other works by the author, it treads new ground in taking on the fallibility of memory, specifically the memories of children (in this case, the memories of the protagonist Jack Burns). The story sprawls across Canada, a large part of Europe and the United States.

The first half of the narration follows a young Canadian actor named Jack Burns through his youth as he travels with his mother in search of his father through the subculture of tattoo artists. Like the title character in The World According to Garp and Irving himself, Jack finds a talent for wrestling and an extended family that aids and hinders him through his trials as a young man coming of age, including his sexual awakening and abuse as an adolescent.

The second half of the narrative sees Jack on the road to discovering the truth behind the misconceptions that his younger self once thought he understood.


In the book, Jack earns the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1999. In reality, this award went to John Irving himself in 1999 for his adaptation of his own book, The Cider House Rules. Additionally, Jack loses the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor to Michael Caine, who also won for The Cider House Rules that year.[1]


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