A Widow for One Year

A Widow for One Year

A Novel

Book - 1998
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A Widow for One YearThe World According to Garp, published twenty years ago. It is also a compelling story about a family marked by tragedy and the "difficult" women who survive. Marion Cole, a thirty-nine-year-old woman - and a faithful wife for twenty-two years - has an affair with a sixteen-year- old boy; she then leaves her philandering husband. Marion also abandons her four-year-old daughter, Ruth. By the age of thirty-six, Ruth Cole has become a renowned author - an internationally acclaimed novelist. But she is an angry, impulsive, often self-contradictory, unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. Ruth distrusts her judgement in men, for good reason; by no means is she conventionally "nice". Five years later, at forty-one, Ruth Cole is a widow and a mother. Ruth's child is the same age Ruth was when her mother left her. Now Ruth is 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.
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, c1998
Edition: First Canadian edition
ISBN: 9780676970807
Characteristics: xiv, 537 pages ;,25 cm.


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Sep 25, 2019

Somewhat Seinfeldian in nature - at times a book about nothing - everyday life with some twists. Still enjoyed reading it but was glad when it ended. A little too long. Hannah character was not at all believable most of the time.

Apr 23, 2019

An entertaining typical John Irving novel, with death, inappropriate sexual escapades, and a comedic touch. An enjoyable read for sure.

Mar 30, 2017

Generally speaking, I love Irving’s multi-plot storytelling and larger than life dysfunctional characters. But this one grew stories within stories and wandered along so many tangents that I kept looking at the page number and calculating how many more pages to go? Thank goodness for the interspersed eroticism that offset the bogged down pace.

Jan 22, 2017

A little too dark and morbid for me with many sub stories that were barely connected to the main. I ended up skipping through half of it. I wouldn't recomend this book.

Irene Staron
Mar 10, 2015

John Irving has the uncanny gift of depicting characters in their fullness. Capturing the subtleties of what motivates behaviour, he presents poignant glimpses of how his characters overcome or succumb to their flaws and weaknesses. Set in the 1950's and spanning to present day his descriptions of the leisured life in the Hamptons brings to life my own memories of summering on Lake Simcoe and in Georgian Bay. One can almost smell the Ban de-Soleil and feel the heat of the sun. An unusual story, a compelling read, I did not necessarily like the characters but Irving's writing is too exceptional to pass up. He makes you want to read more of his works!

Apr 19, 2014

I suppose it would be that one won’t love all the books one reads in a year. This was my first “bust” of 2014. The book is in three portions, following three segments of our protagonist Ruth’s life. First, when she is four and her mother begins an affair with her husband’s assistant who is 16 years old, Second, when she is mid 30s and contemplating marriage, and Third, when she has been widowed about five years after the wedding. The first segment is the strongest of the three. While I found the affair totally gross it’s the best written. But I found adult Ruth to be an incomplete person–there were times where I felt her actions or reactions were completely implausible, and I got really sick and tired of the running commentary on her physical appearance. I hate to say it, but the whole thing seemed like a man trying to write a woman and just not getting it. I can’t say I would recommend this one.

Feb 06, 2014

Started out good, but I did not care for the ending, and the middle part seemed not to go with the rest of the book. Not one of my favorites.

Nov 09, 2013

Irving's 9th novel. He may be a perpetual best-selling author and an Oscar winner to boot (for adapting his own "Cider House Rules"), but I think Irving is a little underrated, at least by the critical establishment who seem to consider him more a craftsman than artist. And he is, but he's better at putting together a novel and creating memorable characters than many of his peers and younger critics' darlings (Franzen comes to mind). If you've read a few of his books, there is plenty here that is familiar and while the plot veers close towards implausible (prostitutes, murder, death, etc.), it's a warm, moving and big-hearted book.

Jul 25, 2013

Great style, as usual; and an entertaining story.

EEMcS Oct 01, 2012

I enjoyed the story. There seemed to be mini stories within the story about characters in the book. All very entertaining, but sometimes it seemed like irrelevant excess detail. I did laugh out loud a number of times.

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