When I first started listening, I was put off by the narrator. With time, I adjusted to his delivery, and I very much enjoyed this book. With a different narrator and some paring down of the "books within the book", I would have given this 5 stars. Even still, I was sorry to have it end.
This isn't among Irving's best, but even when he's not in top form, Irving writes with such flavor that the story stays in the mind long after you've finished the book. I was less than captivated by what feels like the author's over-interest in his alter ego's sexual prowess, and would have been delighted if the book had been two hours shorter.
A 41 year old Marian who grieves the death of her 2 sons, seduces a 16 year old boy to subdue her grief. And off we go through the lives of Marian's daughter Ruth, who is 4, and her philandering husband Ted who writes children's books and seduces the mothers of his child readers. Occasionally it seemed too long, and then I couldn't stop.
I found "A Widow for One Year" intriguing from the first word. Like all of Irving's books, he begins with something of the end in mind, which you can see from the first passages. I did not anticipate the twists and turns of the book--and I won't give away any spoilers here--but I did hope for the ending that Irving wrote. I will caution the reader by stating that this is a very different book from "A Prayer for Owen Meany" in that there is a lot of sex and reference to breasts therein. It isn't tasteless or purposeless, but if you are listening to this around young ones, you might need headphones.
Irving's books satisfy me because every action and detail has a purpose that ends up being revisited at some point in the novel. This was most evident with Irving's use of Ted Cole's books for children coming back as themes in his adult daughter's life.
If you can make it through some of the more tedious descriptions, this book is an excellent listen or read.
I have read the book 4 times. It's in my top 20 favorite novels.
I was hesitant to get the audio version because I didn't want to spoil the version I had in my head.
I'm glad I got it, it's wonderful.
George Guidall brought this novel to life with his well deserved award winning performance. He kept me engaged in what the characters were feeling and thinking -- he really brought them to life. This a rare instance where the performance out did the story. I enjoyed the story, but as others have mentioned, it is really three different stories connected by threads and parts of the stories pace better than others. John Irving is a master at making characters so original, so fresh, you feel that they must be real.
I am a single, sixty year old woman who recently sold her home in the country, where I blissfully raised sheep and chickens. I am very intelligent, sensitive and emotional and I prefer books with these same qualities.
considering John Irving is one of my favorite authors, I was very disappointed be how incredibly slowly this story unfolded. I kept thinking that something exciting or at least interesting would happen to one of the main characters and really had to force myself to keep listening. my first time being disappointed by a John Irving novel. maybe I'll listen tho Owem Meany again to remind myself what an great story teller JI is..
I mostly listen to spiritual (Eckhart Tolle) and skills enhancement books (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). I recommend all of them on here.
It's so good, I keep listening even after I get home from my work commute. I love how he just shocks you repeatedly with some sexual stuff. I can't wait to see what happens. Do they get together? Does she come back? :) I wasn't sure it would even come close to A Prayer for Owner Meany but it's going to be up there and I'm not even finished yet! I'm so enjoying it I wanted to tell everyone. BTW I was so stoked when I saw that John Irving has a new book coming out in November!!! Avenue of Mysteries.
I listened to this book after finishing Irving's previous book: "A prayer for Owen Meany" which I loved. "A widow for one year" was a disappointing follow up. Irvin's ridiculous referrals to women's breasts and their lingerie and clothing was funny in Owen Meany, but there was far too much of it in this book to the point of it ruining the story. Since there was not much of a story either, the book was very disappointing and I feel like I wasted my credit this month!