Customer Reviews for

A Widow for One Year

Average Rating 4
( 115 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 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

4 out of 5 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 May 29, 2013

    Hmmm

    This story lacked the ability to make me connect with the characters. It was surprising, after reading A Prayer for Owen Meany. That was a book that gripped my emotions. This book started out well in the beginning and then just sort of fell flat and spun in too many silly directions afterwards. I didn't care for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    OK- Not as impressed as I thought I'd be

    This novel was long and tended to drag on. I was also disappointed in the ending.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2005

    Pretty boring...

    The only other Irving book I've read was A Prayer for Owen Meany and while it was nowhere near my favorite, I enjoyed it. So when I saw Widow for One Year on sale, I decided to try it. I was very disappointed. I've heard great things about Irving, so I was expecting this book to be amazing. Maybe my high expectations ruined the book for me, or maybe it really was just boring. The only character I didn't hate was Ruth as a child. The rest are just annoying. There were too many details about stuff that didn't matter (like the horrible books they always talked about in such detail). I also felt like Irving could not just make a point. Instead he made it through the characters, and then explained it like the reader couldn't get it without blatantly being told, and then harped on it for pages. The only things that made me get through the book and not give up were that I paid for it and felt like giving up would be a waste of money and that the faster I got this book done, the faster I could start a new one.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2005

    Not worth the time

    I found this book to be quite disapointing. I gave it 2 stars because it's not the worse that I have read, but close. The book seems to go on and on about nothing. The author spends way too much time on Ruth's writing. At times it's as if you are reading a book within a book. I will admit the first part of the book is good, but it goes down hill from there. Eddie's obsession with older women is quite disturing, and Hannah's over use of the word 'baby' is annoying. I wouldn't reccomend this book to anyone. There are far better reads out there.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2003

    A let down

    The last book I read by John Irving was 'A Prayer For Owen Meany.' over 12 years ago. I had enjoyed all his other books but he wasn't a favorite author of mine or anything. I bought this novel at a used book store and had to force myself to finish it..... thinking......It'll get better. Trust me It doesn't! I could've care less about the characters, finding most of them selfish, self-absored bores that I wouldn't want to know in person. I found Eddie endearing and Allan although I didn't see why he loved Ruth?!? I did enjoy when Ruth played 'squash' with Scott.I don't think I'll be reading any more John Irving books. I am an avid reader........... at least 3 a week and this was the first novel in a long time that I had to force myself to finish.....not worth it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2003

    Zzzz...

    I think John Irving's books have got all the same style. He seems to enjoy putting his characters in dire situations and then make them do things in extreme ways. I enjoyed The Cider House Rules very much so proceeded to read his other novels, but was disappointed to realise that the rest of them are all very boring. The stories do not flow and the characters are all a bit sick. Maybe JI wants them to be this way, but the characters are too extreme for my taste. I think this is the last book I'm going to read by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    about 2/3's through.............

    I loved all of the John Irving books I've read. This one starts out with great promise (for me) and then starts to die only to catch it's breath again. Right now, she's in the red light district and if there's a message here, I'm not getting it. Hopefully there some more life in the last part of this novel as I won't put it down til I've finished. Not his best........

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2002

    Great Writer--The sex scenes wear on you

    My first Irving read. He is an excellent writer. His characters are extremely well-formed and creative. Not only too much sex in this book, but the sexual content is much like you would imagine reading from a nympho adolescent who doesn't appreciate sex as a beautiful thing. It gets tedious. Also the story is very long and tends to ramble off down every road to chase a rabbit. It's much like reading several different novels at once. It does however, spark a desire to investigate more of his writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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