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A Widow for One Year Audiobook

A Widow for One Year

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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

4.0 (455 )
5 star
 (192)
4 star
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3 star
 (81)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (18)
Overall
4.1 (273 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (276 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (7)
Performance
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  •  
    Daniel Bellefonte, PA, United States 02-04-13
    Daniel Bellefonte, PA, United States 02-04-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The First Third is Great!"
    Would you try another book from John Irving and/or George Guidall?

    Yes


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Irving again?

    Yes


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I won't give it away, but there are a couple powerful scenes where writer characters use the full force of their narrative abilities to reveal some disturbing details.


    Was A Widow for One Year worth the listening time?

    On the whole. First third was great, typical Irving. The last two thirds were so-so.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    richard/sharon great falls, va, United States 12-06-12
    richard/sharon great falls, va, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    8
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    Performance
    Story
    "Don't Miss This"

    I was so sorry this book ended. The varied and flawed characters the interweaving stories. It was so worth it. The narration was superb and if you like a great story and like to reread in the future - Don't miss this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael c. hughes 10-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
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    124
    31
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "It's not Owen Meany but its good!"

    Like many other listeners I've sometimes struggled with Mr. Irving but when he's good he's soooo good! Not his absolute best for me but well worth spending my credit. I loved the dry humor from beginning to end & it's an unusual & interesting story line. I tried Son of the Circus & could not finish it so I'm a little gun shy but found this one rewarding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary BURLINGTON, MA, United States 09-06-12
    mary BURLINGTON, MA, United States 09-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    5
    5
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    "George Guidall makes it great."
    What made the experience of listening to A Widow for One Year the most enjoyable?

    It's not my favorite John Irving novel but still a wonderful experience. Anything read by George Guidall is enjoyable.


    Would you be willing to try another book from John Irving? Why or why not?

    Of course. Great writer.


    Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

    Ruth.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa San Francisco, CA, United States 08-28-11
    lisa San Francisco, CA, United States 08-28-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
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    15
    10
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    Overall
    "Painfully Disappointing!!"

    I found myself alternating between several emotions while I listened to this terrible John Irving novel... primarily I was disappointed that Mr. Irving could even write such insipidness, then I was angry that I was wasting my time on it, every once in awhile I was vaguely drawn in by short passages...and then I would return to disappointment. Yes, the characters were very well developed -as one would expect in an Irving novel- but beyond that I do not know what happened!! The obnoxious, totally over-done breast fixation (and I mean over-done!!), the tedious books w/in the book, the very hard to believe plot lines in the second half of the story... PUH_LEASE!! I cannot believe I actually finished this book- and up until now, I would have called myself a John Irving Fan!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ella toronto,, Ontario, Canada 12-23-09
    Ella toronto,, Ontario, Canada 12-23-09 Member Since 2016

    Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1520
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    5
    Overall
    "Boring!"

    Well, there is 24 hours of my life I won't get back. Listening to this book was tedious at best. It is divided into 3 parts. The first part was about Ruth Cole's family. A dysfunctional group of people who lived through a tragedy which was instrumental in ripping them apart. It had potential, they even made a movie of the first part of the book called "The Door in the Floor". I can see why the film makers stopped at the first part. The rest of the book was lots and lots of filler...and really boring filler at that! Not even George Guidall could breathe life into this book. After listening to A Prayer for Owen Meany, I was looking forward to another John Irving novel. Guess I picked the wrong one.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert New York, NY, United States 03-31-07
    Robert New York, NY, United States 03-31-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
    ratings
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    160
    16
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    1
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    Overall
    "I'm with June"

    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.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy Byers Rock Hill, S.C. 01-17-08
    Tommy Byers Rock Hill, S.C. 01-17-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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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 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adi 02-14-17
    Adi 02-14-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Irving's stories are fascinating and strange"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Fairfax, VA, United States 04-23-16
    Shawn Fairfax, VA, United States 04-23-16 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Performance, Very Good Throughout"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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