John Irving's story of two boys from a small town in New Hampshire portrays the making of a saint, who comes in the unlikely person of a brilliant dwarf. A Prayer for Owen Meany is narrated by John Wheelwright, a young boy who loses his mother in a freak baseball accident. John remains close to Owen, the unwitting perpetrator. As the years go by, Owen proves himself a brilliant student and a patriot, seeking to serve in Vietnam, while John avoids the draft. As John searches for the father he has never known, Owen becomes convinced that he knows the day of his own death. He insists that John help him practice a dunk shot, in which John holds him close to the basket. The purpose of this ritual is revealed when Owen, now a casualty-assistance officer stationed in Arizona, saves a group of Vietnamese war orphans from death by using his skills to hurl a grenade out of harm's way. Irving’s compelling and intricate portrait of a working-class martyr has captivated readers since its publication in 1990.