ahead-too far ahead-to Ketchum. There was something decidedly parenthetical about the new sentence. “(Only Ketchum can kill Ketchum.)” Definitely a keeper, Danny thought, but most definitely not first-chapter material.

Danny was shivering in his writing shack. The fire in the wood-stove was taking its time to heat the little room. Normally, Danny was chopping a hole in the ice and hauling a couple of buckets of water out of the bay while the writing shack was warming up; this morning, he’d skipped the chopping and the hauling. (Later in this glorious day, he would have Lady Sky to help him with the chores.)

Just then, without even trying to think of it-in fact, at that moment, Daniel Baciagalupo had reached out to rub Hero behind the dog’s good ear-the first sentence came to him. The writer felt it rising into view, as if from underwater; the sentence came into sight the way that apple-juice jar with his dad’s ashes had bobbed to the surface, just before Ketchum shot it.

“The young Canadian, who could not have been more than fifteen, had hesitated too long.”

Oh, God-here I go again-I’m starting! the writer thought.

He’d lost so much that was dear to him, but Danny knew how stories were marvels-how they simply couldn’t be stopped. He felt that the great adventure of his life was just beginning-as his father must have felt, in the throes and dire circumstances of his last night in Twisted River.


SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE CHEFS AND RESTAURATEURS FOR their time and expertise: Bonnie Bruce at Up for Breakfast in Manchester, Vermont; Ray Chen and Christal Siewertsen at The Inn at West View Farm in Dorset, Vermont; Georges Gurnon and Steve Silvestro at Pastis Express in Toronto; Cheryl and Dana Markey at Mistral’s in Winhall, Vermont.

My appreciation to these friends and relations, and various expert readers of earlier drafts of the manuscript; they also assisted me with my research: in New Hampshire, Bill Altenburg, Bayard Kennett, John Yount; in Vermont, David Calicchio, Rick Kelley; in Ontario, James Chatto, Dean Cooke, Don Scale, Marty Schwartz, Helga Stephenson.

In addition, to my wife, Janet, and my son Everett, to whom I read aloud the first draft of the manuscript; to two full-time assistants, Alyssa Barrett and Emily Copeland, who transcribed and proofread all the drafts; and to my editor and copy editor, Amy Edelman-un abbraccio.


Barry, James. Georgian Bay: The Sixth Great Lake. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co., Ltd., 1968.

Chatto, James. “Host Story.” Toronto Life, January 2006.

Gove, Bill. Log Drives on the Connecticut River. Littleton, N.H.: Bondcliff Books, 2003.

Gove, Bill. Logging Railroads Along the Pemigewasset River. Littleton, N.H.: Bondcliff Books, 2006.

Pinette, Richard E. Northwoods Heritage: Authentic Short Accounts of the Northland in Another Era. Colebrook, N.H.: Liebl Printing Company, 1992.

Riccio, Anthony V. Boston’s North End: Images and Recollections of an Italian-American Neighborhood. Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press, 1998.

Stone, Robert. Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties. New York: Ecco/HarperCollins, 2007.


JOHN IRVING published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times-winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. He also received an O. Henry Award, in 1981, for the short story “Interior Space.”

In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules-a film with seven Academy Award nominations. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Last Night in Twisted River is John Irving’s twelfth novel. www.John-Irving.com

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