Customer Reviews for

A Widow for One Year

Average Rating 4
( 116 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Irving's finest novel to date.

'A Widow for One Year' is arguably John Irving's best novel, and if not that, at least a shining example of a writer at the peak of his powers. Make no mistake, however: John Irving is a 19th-century storyteller. He is concerned with character development through th...
'A Widow for One Year' is arguably John Irving's best novel, and if not that, at least a shining example of a writer at the peak of his powers. Make no mistake, however: John Irving is a 19th-century storyteller. He is concerned with character development through the passage of time, so there is no discernable plot to speak of. Others complain about a disjointedness to the novel, yet that is the primary characteristic of the bildungsroman. Ruth Cole is Irving's strongest and most frustrating character she is never entirely likable, nor are her family and friends exactly 'normal.' A bit of suspension of disbelief might be necessary for some readers, but that's part in parcel with the novel's brilliance whether we acknowledge it or not, life is full of tragedy and coincidence. A cynic's view is to dismiss such contrivances as hokey, yet the true storyteller delights not in hokum but in the patent absurdity of human existence. Our individual navigation through the ridiculous happenstances which people our lives to Irving clearly our most valuable characteristics. Irving paints in broad strokes, casting his characters' lives over sixty years. They never end up as we expect, and yet the novel's most touching moments are its conclusion, which takes place exactly as we would expect. 'A Widow for One Year' is a broad, ribald, erotic, and sublime work of art by one of our country's greatest living writers.

posted by Anonymous on August 17, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

An Enjoyable Read

This is the fourth Irving novel I have read; like his other novels, the reader truly gets to know the characters throughout their lives. At times, I could not put the book down; I enjoy Irving's dry, dark sense of humor.I also love that the book takes place in Sagoponac...
This is the fourth Irving novel I have read; like his other novels, the reader truly gets to know the characters throughout their lives. At times, I could not put the book down; I enjoy Irving's dry, dark sense of humor.I also love that the book takes place in Sagoponack, Long Island- the reader gets a glimpse into NY high society. If you haven't read 'The Hotel New Hampshire' yet, check out this book before 'A Widow for one Year.'

posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2009

    Stupid book, needs better plot and easier writing style.

    I didn't like the book. Frankly the book wasn't able to be followed. I wouldn't recommend this garbage to anyone. I don't know why it was a #1 bestseller.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    Tedious

    Started off great but got extremely tedious as it dragged on way too long and the plot scattered in different directions unnecessarily. Overdescriptive ruminations...I didnt like it. I got bored in the middle. Its not necessary to overwrite a novel. This one disappointed me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    It the only book I ever threw away after I read it

    Uhh I just didn't like it

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2004

    Waste of time and money

    I've struggled through the first 200 pages and finally gave up. It was leading me nowhere leaving a sadness and confusion... I bought this book because of many positive comments I've read about it and I was surprised to learn the opposite...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    Don't Bother

    This book was entirely too long. And I don't mean the number of pages! There's so much the book didn't need. The whole Amsterdam scene could have been left out with no adverse affect! And what a pathetic group of characters! Not one had any redeeming qualities. So in short, what's been written is a book about people you can't possibly like that seems like it will NEVER end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2004

    900 Pages of bad airline reading

    The book is really about nothing, just a lot of people idling through life. The characters are predictable and bland, the descriptions are lengthy but provoke no feeling, nor sympathy, nor understanding; the motives are either obscure or meaningless. Why on earth does it span so many-many pages? There is a lot of sex, every character is engaged with somebody at any given time but none of that makes sense, nor does it provide a glimpse into a person's soul.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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