“Truly remarkable . . . encompasses the longings and agonies of youth . . . a complex and moving novel.”—Time
“Astonishing . . . a writer of uncommon imaginative power. Whatever [John Irving] writes, it will be worth reading.”—Saturday Review
It is 1967. Two Viennese university students, Siggy and Hannes, roam the Austrian countryside on their motorcycles—on a quest: to liberate the bears of the Vienna Zoo. But their good intentions have both comic and gruesome consequences in this first novel from John Irving, already a master storyteller at twenty-five years old.
“Imagine a mixture of Till Eulenspiegel and Ken Kesey . . . and you've got the range of the merry pranksters who hot rod through Mr. Irving's book . . . tossing flowers, stealing salt shakers, and planning the biggest caper of their young lives.”—The New York Times