Irving’s novels often deal with controversial subject matter in a way that’s been heralded as quirky, humorous and brave. He’s dealt with the issue of married couples swapping partners, parental loss, feminism, childhood abuse, and both open bisexuality and repressed homosexuality in narratives that explore conventionality and challenge tradition.
The most important symbol in A Prayer for Owen Meany is Owen himself; Owen embodies the relationship between the natural and the supernatural that is at the heart of the novel’s main theme. With his tiny, dwarfed body, his weirdly glowing skin, and his ethereally nasal voice (always represented in the book by capital letters), Owen is not entirely of this world–his appearance validates his bizarre spiritual life, in which he seems to be in direct communication with God.
A prayer for Owen Meany was written by John Irving. It was published in 1989.