A Widow for One Year

A Widow for One Year

A Novel

eBook - 1998 | 1st trade ed.
Average Rating:
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A girl discovers her mother in bed with a teenage boy and later the mother abandons her. Meanwhile, her father is seducing young girls. So begins the story of Ruth Cole, a famous writer struggling to overcome childhood traumas and find love.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c1998.
Edition: 1st trade ed.
ISBN: 9780375504471
0375504478
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiv, 537 p.)
Contents: First Sentences: An Introduction to A Widow for One Year / John Irving
Summer 1958
The Inadequate Lamp Shade
Summer Job
A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
Unhappy Mothers
Marion, Waiting
Eddie Is Bored
and Horny, Too
The Door in the Floor
A Masturbating Machine
Come Hither ...
The Pawn
Ruth's Right Eye
Dumping Mrs. Vaughn
Why Panic at Ten O'Clock in the Morning?
How the Writer's Assistant Became a Writer
Something Almost Biblical
The Authority of the Written Word
A Motherless Child
The Leg
Working for Mr. Cole
Leaving Long Island
Fall 1990
Eddie at Forty-Eight
Ruth at Thirty-Six
The Red and Blue Air Mattress
Allan at Fifty-Four
Hannah at Thirty-Five
Ted at Seventy-Seven
Ruth Remembers Learning to Drive
Two Drawers
Pain in an Unfamiliar Place
Ruth Gives Her Father a Driving Lesson
A Widow for the Rest of Her Life
Ruth's Diary, and Selected Postcards
The First Meeting
Ruth Changes Her Story
Not a Mother, Not Her Son
The Moleman
Followed Home from the Flying Food Circus
Chapter One
Missing Persons
The Standoff
Ruth's First Wedding
Fall 1995
The Civil Servant
The Reader
The Prostitute's Daughter
Sergeant Hoekstra Finds His Witness
In Which Eddie O'Hare Falls in Love Again
Mrs. Cole
Better Than Being in Paris with a Prostitute
In Which Eddie and Hannah Fail to Reach an Agreement
A Happy Couple, Their Two Unhappy Friends
Marion at Seventy-Six.
Summary: A girl discovers her mother in bed with a teenage boy and later the mother abandons her. Meanwhile, her father is seducing young girls. So begins the story of Ruth Cole, a famous writer struggling to overcome childhood traumas and find love.

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s
sgcf
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.

j
joyfulheart82
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.

i
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!

k
kninchicago
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.

e
emkenny78
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.

l
lukasevansherman
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.

e
empbee
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.

v
vcc
Oct 01, 2011

I couldn't get past the fact that this book seemed reminiscent of the 1970s and Irving's success with The World According to Garp. Its humour seemed old-fashioned, and I didn't care for it. (Jan 2001)

h
haploU5
Aug 03, 2011

An original story about devastating loss and the different ways people cope with the aftermath.
John Irving works his magic as he churns out this tale of heart wrenching struggle intricately woven with humour as only he can. As with all his novels, this is not a suspense –filled page turner but an unfolding drama that draws you in bit by bit, deeper and deeper. Not everyone will like this genre, but for those who do, it is quite a treat.
The first part of this novel was made into a film called “the Door In the Floor” starring Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger. The film is true to the novel.

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