First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is set in rural Maine in the first half of the twentieth century. The novel 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. This is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.
“[Irving] is among the very best storytellers at work today. At the base of Irving’s own moral concerns is a rare and lasting regard for human kindness.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
“Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying.” —Joseph Heller
“An old-fashioned, big-hearted novel . . . with its epic yearning caught in the nineteenth century, somewhere between Trollope and Twain.”—Boston Sunday Globe
“The Cider House Rules is filled with people to love and to feel for. . . . The characters in John Irving’s novel break all the rules, and yet they remain noble and free-spirited.”—Houston Post