In One Person

By John Irving
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451664126, 448pp.)

Publication Date: May 8, 2012

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.


Selected by Indie Booksellers for the May 2012 Indie Next List
“As the beguiling Miss Frost puts it in this modern masterpiece of gender politics, 'My dear boy, please don't put a label on me -- don't make me a category before you get to know me!' There is no writer, living or dead, who better humanizes the quirky, the misunderstood, the 'different' than John Irving. Here, through his bisexual protagonist, Billy, he tenderly explores the way American attitudes toward sexuality have -- and have not -- evolved in the past half-century. A heartbreaking, hopeful, complicated, and gorgeous story, In One Person is a must-read.”
-- Libby Cowels, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO


"His most daringly political, sexually transgressive, and moving novel in well over a decade" (Vanity Fair).

Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary Award

A New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a "sexual suspect," a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of "terminal cases," The World According to Garp.

In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself "worthwhile."

About the Author

The World According to Garp, which won the National Book Award in 1980, was John Irving’s fourth novel and his first international bestseller. Irving’s novels are now translated into thirty-five languages, and he has had nine international bestsellers. In One Person is John Irving’s thirteenth novel.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Desire can have a profound effect on young adults during their formative years. Novelist John Irving turns 70 this year, and his latest novel is a coming-of-age story about loss, identity and AIDS � told by a bisexual narrator named Billy Abbott. More at

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

Conversation Starters from

    Praise For In One Person

    "This tender exploration of nascent desire, of love and loss, manages to be sweeping, brilliant, political, provocative, tragic, and funnye"it is precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel.The unfolding of the AIDS epidemic in the United States in the '80s was the defining moment for me as a physician. With my patientse(TM) deaths, almost always occurring in the prime of life, I would find myself cataloging theotherlossese"namely, what these people might have offered society had they lived the full measure of their days: their art, their literature, the children they might have raised. In One Personis the novel that for me will define that era.A profound truth is arrived at in these pages. It is Irving at his most daring, at his most ambitious.It is America and American writing, both at their very best.e

    e" Abraham Verghese

    "In One Person is a novel that makes you proud to be human. It is a book that not only accepts but also loves our differences. From the beginning of his career, Irving has always cherished our peculiaritiese"in a fierce, not a saccharine, way. Now he has extended his sympathiese"and ourse"still further into areas that even the misfits eschew. Anthropologists say that the interstitiale"whatever lies between two familiar oppositese"is usually declared either taboo or sacred. John Irving in this magnificent novele"his best and most passionate since The World According to Garpe"has sacralized what lies between polarizing genders and orientations. And have I mentioned it is also a gripping page-turner and a beautifully constructed work of art?"

    e" Edmund White

    "His most daringly political, sexually transgressive, and moving novel in well over a decade."e"Vanity Fair

    "A brave and affecting depiction of how in one life (sexual and otherwise) we contain multitudes."e"Elle

    eoeIn One Person is a rich and absorbing book, even beautiful.e e"Esquire

    eoe[In One Person] is a staggeringly ambitious work, and its success reaffirms Irvinge(TM)s place among our greatest working novelists.e e"BookPage (Fiction Top Pick, May 2012)

    eoeFew writers can craft misfits with the tenderness of Irving, and this tragicomic portrait of a bisexual man is a masterpiece of sympathy and imagination.e e"Departures

    eoeGorgeouseIrving remains a master builder when it comes to constructing an epic plot filled with satisfying twists.e e"Entertainment Weekly

    eoeIt is impossible to imagine the American e" or international e" literary landscape without John Irvinge.He has sold tens of millions of copies of his books, books that have earned descriptions like epic and extraordinary and controversial and sexually brave. And yet, unlike so many writers in the contemporary canon, he manages to write books that are both critically acclaimed and beloved for their sheer readability. He is as close as one gets to a contemporary Dickens in the scope of his celebrity and the level of his achievement.e e"Time

    Indie Bookstore Finder

    In One Person


    More Book Videos

    Indie Bestsellers

    Confessions of a Self-Help Writer
    Benjamin Dehaven
    Lagniappe Publishing
    Jeff VanderMeer
    FSG Originals
    The Martian
    Andy Weir
    Kent Haruf

    Make Your Own Wishlist

    More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.

    For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events.

    Update Profile