Currently Reading: The Fourth Hand

John Irving is my favorite contemporary American writer.  I've read most of his novels and consider some of them to be my all-time favorites.

The Fourth Hand is not one of them.

Patrick Wallingford, an attractive field reporter for an all-news network, travels to India after disaster strikes at a circus.  During an interview, his hand is snatched and eaten by lions.  Wallingford henceforth becomes know as "lion man" or "disaster guy".  

A surgeon in Boston hopes that Patrick will be the recipient of the first ever successful hand transplant.  And when a donor hand becomes available, it looks like this may be the case.  The donor's widow however, asks for visitation rights with the hand.  Things become complicated, to say the least.

I can't pinpoint why this book isn't working for me.  It's trademark Irving from the quirkiness of the characters to the numerous and strange sexual encounters, but it just doesn't feel complete to me.  The characters, with one exception, don't gain my curiosity or sympathy and the plot seems to meander too much for my taste.

I'll finish this one (almost done), but I don't think it's a book that I'll reach for again and again.  


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