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A Widow for One Year | [John Irving]

A Widow for One Year

Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character — a "difficult" woman. Her story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her, Ruth is only four. The second window into Ruth's life opens when she is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. The novel closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth is a 41-year-old widow and mother — and about to fall in love for the first time.
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Publisher's Summary

Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character — a "difficult" woman. By no means is she conventionally "nice", but she will never be forgotten.

Ruth's story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her in the summer of 1958 on Long Island, Ruth is only four.

The second window into Ruth's life opens in the fall of 1990, when Ruth is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. She distrusts her judgment in men, for good reason.

A Widow for One Year closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth Cole is a 41-year-old widow and mother — and about to fall in love for the first time.

Richly comic, as well as deeply disturbing, A Widow for One Year is a multilayered love story of astonishing emotional force. Both ribald and erotic, it is also a brilliant novel about the passage of time and the relentlessness of grief.

©1998 Garp Enterprises, Ltd.; (P)1998 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Irving's most entertaining and persuasive novel since...The World According to Garp." (The New York Times)

"Impressive....There's hardly a writer alive who can match his control of the omniscient point of view." (The Washington Post Book World)

"Wisely and carefully crafted...Irving is among the few novelists who can write a novel about grief and fill it with ribald humor soaked in irony." (USA Today)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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3.9 (138 )
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  •  
    Tommy Byers Rock Hill, S.C. 01-17-08
    Tommy Byers Rock Hill, S.C. 01-17-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Recommended"

    Mr. Irving missed the boat on this one. While there were fairly exciting moments in some parts of the book, the plot is so scattered that I quickly lost interest. Being the optimist, I continued to listen with the hopes that it would get better. It did not. This one should not make any recommended book list.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 06-25-08
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 06-25-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    153
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    106
    43
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    5
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    "Interminable"

    To be fair, I didn't get through this book. You couldn't have paid me to finish it. It is inane from the start and after several hours does not improve. I've rarely put a book -- especially one I paid for -- down without intending to go back to it. This is one of the few.

    I think the book is about the little girl, but the first three hours are all about her self-focused parents. The minutia of their lives, although bizarre, did not sustain my interest. I simply do not care to find out what happens to any of them.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
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