I've always known about 'Hotel New Hampshire'. I never knew what it was about but I knew there was a book. I knew there was a film too. I somehow imagined it to be something Hitchock-like mixed Last Tango In Paris. Imagine my surprise. So far there is something about a bear. I will finish this review when I am done reading.Ok. Done reading. I don't think John Irving will ever get five stars from me. Though he is an excellent story-teller - and this is what a purpose of every novel should be - to tell a good story. All modern and not so modern writers that have some other hidden agenda should probably consider a career change. Telling stories is what writing novels is all about. And John Irving does that superbly. You never know if it is a plot-driven novel or character-driven novel because he seems to put equal effort into developing both his characters and his story. They go hand in hand and develop together. Kudos for that.As a true story teller Irving often goes astray. He just loves to digress, and digress... and digress... However, it didn't bother me at all in The Hotel New Hampshire (unlike in the Prayer for Owen Meany). The real problem I have with Irving and the reason why probably will never get five stars from me is his really cheesy symbolism. I have no problem with books asking me for a serious supsense of disbelief. But Irving puts all that crazy sh!%$ in his books just so he can have his symbolism. I think his tricks are cheap. And sometimes I really don't know. Is Irving a truly amazing writer or is he just tricking me into believing he is while always serving me the same recycled dish?