Let go of the bears!

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Let go of the bears! (1968, original title: Setting Free the Bears ) is the first novel by the American writer John Irving and was translated by Michael Walter .

Irving studied at the Institute of European Studies in Vienna in 1963 . The novel was written between 1965 and 1967 based on Irving's understanding of the city and the rebellious youth of the 1960s. The original manuscript of the book was submitted as a master's thesis to the Writer's Workshop of the University of Iowa in 1967 , later expanded and published in the revised version. This book covers many of the subjects that appear in Irving's later books.


The first novel by John Irving tells the story of Siggi Javotnik and Hannes Graff, two students who are not exactly spoiled for success. Among other things, in this story we meet a city-addicted girl from the country, the Austrian federal eagle, night watchman in the Schönbrunn zoo , a mystical motorcycle master, honey bees, the Benno Blum gang and an Asian collar bear. It's a tragically comical and bizarre story. From today's point of view, the contemporary historical considerations of the war and post-war years packed in this story are interesting.


The story takes place partly in Vienna ; The language used in the German translation of the novel is perceived by Viennese as an artificial language that contains words that are not used in Austria .


The book was published in 2005 as part of Aktion Eine Stadt. A book. distributed free of charge in Vienna.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Nicholas Wroe: Profile: John Irving (en-GB) . In: The Guardian , August 12, 2005. 
  2. Diogenes Verlag - Let go of the bears! | Irving, John. Retrieved February 3, 2020 .