Until I Find You by John Irving Random House, $210 Would-be authors are often told to 'write about what you know'. John Irving clings to that advice like a tattoo to skin, so it's no surprise that his latest novel includes a dysfunctional family, quirky characters, wrestling, lots of sex, Europe ... and tattoos. The lack of bears - another Irving motif - in Until I Find You is one of the book's surprises. Reading his 11th novel can be difficult without the strong forearms and back of a wrestler like Irving, whose constant use of the sport in his books led to his induction in 1992 into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in the US. The main character, Jack Burns, is a wrestler who grows up to become a successful movie actor. The story takes place on both sides of the Atlantic at various points in his life. His Scottish mother, Alice, a tattoo artist, gives birth to him in Canada. They then return to Europe to look for Jack's organ-playing father, William, who apparently ran off to escape his parental responsibilities. The pair scour major cities around the North Sea. Jack and his mother befriend or seduce many odd characters, all of whom Irving brings to life well, along with the colour of cities such as Toronto, Amsterdam and Helsinki. Another constant in Irving's work is unusual sex. To wit: the frantic sex brother and sister John and Franny Berry undertake to overcome their desire in The Hotel New Hampshire; and the impotent Fred Trumper's need to drink gallons before he can get to work between the sheets in The Water Method Man. Until I Find You has Jack molested by older girls and much older women - scenes some will find uncomfortable. Irving's disdain for making movies out of books, which he spelled out in My Movie Business, is echoed throughout. His desire not to see this novel turned into a movie is, perhaps, why he's included so much sex, but in the end we wouldn't really know Jack - and Jack wouldn't be who he is - without it. The furniture may be used, but the arrangement is fresh. Irving emphasises the inaccuracy of memories and how we unconsciously twist them over time. This novel echoes much of Irving's life - most notably his abandonment by his father. The spin surrounding this book ties much of what happens inside the covers to what has happened in Irving's life. Interesting, if true. But, as Irving shows, we believe in much that's false and ignore even more of the truth.