I'm not a huge fan of John Irving, but I love Hotel New Hampshire. The basic plotline is fairly thin, a disenchanted school teacher marries, has a large family, and becomes an unsuccessful hotelier. But around this slender thread is wound a wonderful tale of teenage angst, which explores the limits of taxidermy, and explains how to thwart terrorists, and why every hotel needs a bear. Bizarre? Yes, it is, but wonderfully, if very blackly comic.
Not a novel to read for those who are easily shocked, amongst the laughs Hotel New Hampshire also deals with serious issues such as bereavement, rape and coming to terms with ones sexuality, but it's a fantastic life-affirming novel. To be read voraciously.