For all his stature, Mr. Irving covers every inch of that meticulous, obsessive, painstaking research himself. He hunkered down in ob-gyn wards of hospitals, he says, when he was preparing Cider House Rules. He ensconced himself in tattoo parlours, many of them in Toronto and Nova Scotia, for his last novel, 2005's Until I Find You, a peripatetic quest for a father, which crisscrossed Canada on the back of its central character, Canadian actor Jack Burns.
He would never think to let anyone do this type of research for him. "Writing is in the details," he offers.
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