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A Widow for One Year: A Novel Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345469011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345469014
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.2 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 435 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,277,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl on March 26 2004
Format: Paperback
A Widow for One Year has become my favorite John Irving novel. Many of his other works, while enjoyable, have put me off a little because the characters and plot are a bit over the top. This offering, while imaginative and entertaining, never gets to that stage. It's a big novel, spanning about forty years and has a satisfying, yet never hokey or corny ending. The characters, of course, are a bit quirky in their way, but said quirkiness is somehow more believable than in Irving's other novels. The story is a lot of fun and, because most of the characters are writers, allows Irving to explain and comment on the writing process. I sometimes felt he was answering his own critics while discussing the criticism of his character-writers. However, he has fun with the whole thing and never takes it too seriously, which is part of what makes this novel fun and enthralling. A Widow for One Year is a human story about loss and how far some of us would go for love. Highly recommended...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arline Curtiss on April 8 2002
Format: Paperback
I threw down Franzen's The Connections and Delillo's Underworld in disgust, after an hour's hard effort each. I had a bad cold and was looking for the company of a good book to help distract me. I should have known that John Irving is always good company. That's what I always look for, the august company of a good storyteller who is going to do just that "tell me his story."
Don't miss this book. It has it all, good story, good characters, enough mystery and anticipation to keep looking ahead, enough sex to be contemporary, enough surprises to wake you up out of your own stale conjectures, some warm comedy to be good company, some real tragedy to touch the heart. And I think it taught me a lot that I can use in writing my own novel.
Then for fun I logged on here to read some reviews. I had to laugh at the supercilious statements of some of the editorial reviewers who are grasping at straws trying to find something to criticize. Got pen?
I'm serious about this being a good guide to how to write a novel--it's in the very bones of the book. I got a six-figure advance for my first non-fiction book, Depression is a Choice, published by Hyperion, and now I am starting a novel myself, which probably I will have to sell under a pen name since it is hard to be a cross-over author. Before my non-fiction sale,I was already an author of 5 children's book which I downplayed as "self-published," in order not to be typecast. And before I was a book author I was and still am a cognitive behavioral therapist. I toy with the idea sending my first 50 pages to this author for his remarks but of course I wouldn't presume to do so. I'll just struggle along like every other author has to do. Win by the word or lose by the word--a mind in the hand of fate. It is a worthy path.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 12 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
My take on this book is that Irving is speaking to us via the main character, Ruth Cole. She reminds us in many instances that an author is not to be so easily judged by what his/her characters do. They are the author's characters and will do whatever the author wishes, but this cannot be assumed to be an endorsement of any particular political point of view. I think Irving was writing to make this point throughout the book; it's just a story, and the characters make decisions that have life-altering impacts, but it's just a story that follows it's characters to whatever ends their choices lead them.
I loved the book not really because of my take above, but because every few pages Irving tosses in something that is spectacularly thought-provoking. The book was well-plotted, and you did wonder how it would end. The characters learned lessons and lived their lives. Along the way, Irving was able to give you something valuable to think about at every turn. I value that greatly about all his writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 1 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is for sure an intellectual read as well as hilarious. The characters of Eddie and Hannah (especially their trip together stuck in a car) always made me laugh. An exciting read as well as interesting! It really is a certain type of book for a certain type of person. If you are very proper, don't read this book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Merritt on April 17 2004
Format: Hardcover
John Irving's 537-page novel tells the emotionally compelling story of its "melancholic main character" (p. 389), Ruth Cole, in three parts. The novel opens in 1958, when 4-year-old Ruth interrupts her 39-year-old mother, Marion Cole, having sex with a 16-year-old boy, Eddie O'Hare. It was a "sad time" (p. 54) in her parents' marriage. While the Coles suffer through the psychological impact of losing their two sons in an automobile accident, Eddie is unaware that he has been specifically hired by Marion's alcoholic husband, Ted, for the purpose of becoming Marion's lover for the summer, and that "it would have lifelong results" (p. 8) for all four characters. The Coles' personal tragedy first leads Marion to abandon her womanizing husband and infant daughter, and eventually leads Ted to commit suicide. Not surprisingly, Part Two of Irving's novel finds Ruth at age 36 attempting to cope with the emotional baggage from her childhood misfortunes, and Eddie at age 48 still longing for Marion. By 1990, both Ruth and Eddie have become established writers. However, it is not until 1995 and Part Three when, at age 41, Ruth is able to escape the depths of her lifelong misery by discovering love, and at age 53, when Eddie is finally able to confront his lifelong connection with Marion. Although Irving treats sexuality rather frankly throughout his unforgettable novel, ultimately his novel transcends the sexual realm and becomes a story about surviving personal misfortune and experiencing the healing powers of love. Irving brings his characters to life in a well-drawn story. It won't take a year--but more likely less than a week--for serious readers to discover the real wisdom in Irving's WIDOW.
G. Merritt
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