Campbell, Josie R. John Irving: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. Part of the Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers series, Campbell’s book covers Irving’s career through A Widow for One Year, showing both the popular and the literary sources and appeal of his novels.
Harter, Carol C., and James R. Thompson. John Irving. Boston: Twayne, 1986. Part of the Twayne United States Authors series, this clearly written study of Irving’s fiction through The Cider House Rules emphasizes the mixture of popular and artistic appeal in the novels. The volume includes an annotated bibliography.
Miller, Gabriel. John Irving. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1982. Part of the Ungar Modern Literature series, this is a useful biographical and critical study of Irving’s career through The Hotel New Hampshire. It includes a chronology through 1982, a 1981 interview with Irving, and a bibliography of both primary and secondary sources.
Priestley, Michael. “Structure in the Worlds of John Irving.” Critique 23, no. 1 (1981): 82-96. Priestley analyzes the ways the novelist—and his characters—seek to impose order on their fictional worlds in Irving’s first four novels.
Reilly, Edward C. Understanding John Irving. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991. A concise exposition of Irving’s work through A Prayer for Owen Meany, Reilly’s volume is part of a continuing series devoted to world literature and situates Irving’s work with regard to both British and continental traditions.
Van Gelder, Lindsy. Review of A Widow for One Year, by John Irving. The Nation 127 (May 11, 1998): 52-55. A thoughtful feminist reading of Irving’s sole novel with a female protagonist, Van Gelder’s review ends on an unexpectedly positive, if still ironic, note.