Avenue of Mysteries

Avenue of Mysteries is a 2015 novel by American author John Irving, his 14th novel.[1] The book was published in November 2015 by Simon & Schuster.[2][3]

Avenue of Mysteries
AuthorJohn Irving
CountryUnited States / Canada
PublisherSimon & Schuster (US)
Publication date
November 3, 2015
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages480 pp
Preceded byIn One Person 


The narrative traces the life of Juan Diego, an aging writer, who travels to the Philippines while struggling with his memories of growing up as a boy in Mexico.[4] As Ron Charles in The Washington Post noted,

[the story] evolves from two distinct but mingled storylines. In the present tense, we follow the beloved teacher and novelist Juan Diego Guerrero as he travels from Iowa to the Philippines to fulfill a promise made years ago...But Juan Diego's heart and the heart of this novel lie far in the past. Prone to frequent spells of dreaming... Juan Diego's memories of adolescence around 1970 in Oaxaca, Mexico [forms the other storyline]...[5]


Initial reviews just before and after publication of Avenue of Mysteries were, in general, laudatory. In the New York Times Book Review, novelist Tayari Jones was particularly effusive in her admiration, even though she was careful to distinguish Avenue of Mysteries from Irving's masterpieces, among these The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. If below the standard of these latter novels, nevertheless Jones thought that Avenue of Mysteries held its own:

From the first page to the last, there is a goodness to this novel, a tenacious belief in love and the redemptive power of human connection, unfettered by institutions and conventions. This belief, combined with good old-fashioned storytelling, is surely why Irving is so often described as Dickensian. But John Irving is his own thing, and so is his new novel. "Avenue of Mysteries" is thoroughly modern, accessibly brainy, hilariously eccentric and beautifully human.[6]

Kirkus Reviews offered the novel muted praise: "although not as irresistible as early works such as The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, a welcome return to form."[7] Washington Post Book World editor Ron Charles found vintage Irving here, the author casting familiar elements and themes within "new permutations" amidst "a particularly touching and sometimes farcical story of two siblings and their makeshift family." This same reviewer also noted that although Irving does not shirk from depicting a "dangerous, violent world", the story was cast in a semi-comical glow that was reminiscent of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.[5]


Avenue of Mysteries has been translated into at least 14 languages. The following is a list of those translations, with the publisher shown in parentheses, followed by the date of publication:

  • Norwegian translation (Gyldendal Norsk Forlag), published January 2016
  • Finnish translation (Tammi), published May 6, 2016
  • Spanish translation (Tusquets Editores), published April 2016
  • German translation (Diogenes Verlag) , published March 2016
  • French translation (Editions du Seuil), publishing May 6, 2016
  • Polish translation (Prószyński i S-ka), published January 2016
  • Dutch translation (De Bezige Bij), published November 2015
  • Danish translation (Lindhardt og Ringhof), published March 2016
  • Catalan translation (Grup 62), published April 2016
  • Czech translation (Euromedia), published June 2016
  • Portuguese translation (Editora Rocco), published June 2016
  • Lithuanian translation (Alma littera), publishing Fall 2016
  • Swedish translation (Wahlström & Widstrand), publishing January 2017
  • Italian translation (Rizzoli), publishing 2017


  1. "Review: In John Irving's 'Avenue of Mysteries,' a Blur of Aphorisms and Magical Events". The New York Times. 3 November 2015.
  2. "Avenue of Mysteries".
  3. "Avenue of Mysteries". Penguin Random House Canada.
  4. "Review: 'Avenue of Mysteries,' by John Irving". Star Tribune.
  5. "Avenue of Mysteries". Washington Post.
  6. "John Irving's 'Avenue of Mysteries'". The New York Times. 29 November 2015.
  7. John Irving. "AVENUE OF MYSTERIES". Kirkus Reviews.
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