First published in 1985 by William Morrow, The Cider House Rules is John Irving's sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of the twentieth century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch—saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch's favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.
“Let us be thankful,” he would say, and then pause—as if he were truly wondering, What for? “Let us be thankful for what kindness we have received,” Larch would say, cautiously looking at the unwanted and abandoned around him. “Let us be thankful for Nurse Angela and for Nurse Edna,” he would add,
When there was another night pressing, Angel sat with Rose Rose on the cider house roof and told her all about the ocean: the strange tiredness one feels at the edge of the sea, the weight in the air, the haze in the middle of a summer day, the way the surf softens sharp things. He told her the whole, familiar story. How we love to love things for other people; how we love to have other people love things through our eyes.
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