The novel The Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving, suffers in comparison with The World According To Garp. Garp is loads of fun: Strange yet believable, with enough joy amid the tragedy to carry the story. THNH is mostly tragedy and I didn't really believe most of the characters. And I there are a lot of characters, and their stories unfold piecemeal. The narrator of the book, John Berry (we eventually find out his name), sticks in details hither and yon, getting ahead of himself and pausing to explain a key detail for an upcoming scene. The book works, but barely. I thought Garp was great, but THNH disappointed. Only recommended for Irving fans (of which there are many). I haven't read his other books, and they are now further down the queue.
The movie The Hotel New Hampshire just doesn't work on any level. The movie of Garp worked because they cut out huge swaths of the complex story, and because the over-the-top acting by Robin Williams let the supporting characters do their part without the need to fill in their backstory. The movie THNH tries to put in virtually all the plot and wastes some good actors. The pacing is such that you can't develop empathy for any of the characters, and the situations never seem like they're happening to real people. The horrible direction enhances the cartoonish comedy and pathos-free tragedy. Almost all the main characters are played by actors who are much, much better in almost any other movie. Wallace Shawn is wasted: He is perfectly cast as the always-upbeat-but-continually-downtrodde