Setting Free the Bears (Austria)

For Austria the book I found was Setting Free the Bears by John Irving. This is the first John Irving book that I have read, I know that a lot of people love his work, and I can see why. This is his first book, and while he is not a native of Austria he did live there for some time.

The book is divided up into three section. While I found the first section a bit boring it was needed to set up the story. Siggy and Graff meet, and go on a motorcycle adventure in the country side. While both of then are what I would not call stable Graff at this point  in the book seems to have a bit more sense then Siggy. The one thing that Siggy does that I did find enduring in an odd way was his proclivity to steal salt shakers. Just salt shakers. Near the end of this section they meet the third character. A girl named Gallen.

The second part of the book is my favorite and I think because I am a history buff and this part deals with WWII and the Soviet occupation of Vienia. It also tells of Siggy’s stake out of the zoo. His ultimate goal is setting free the animals. Apparently this is based on something that actually happened with the man who set the animals free getting eaten.

In the third part Graff and Gallen go to Vienna to set the animals free. Well, that is Graff’s plan, Gallen thinks that they are  moving to the city. The results are disastrous to say the least.

While I may have not learned a lot about current Austria, I did learn about the war and the occupation. I did not know that the Soviets occupied Vienna,



“After all, it wasn’t the animals war.”

“He declarer that they all must have read to much before they were interested in anything, which prevented them, later from becoming interested in anything they read.”

“Most decisions are anticlimactic.”


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