A Widow for One Year

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Black Swan, 1999 - Fiction - 667 pages
41 Reviews
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We first meet Ruth Cole in the summer of 1958 when she walks in on her mother having sex with 16-year-old Eddie O'Hare, the assistant to Ruth's alcoholic father. The death of Ruth's older brothers (years before she was born) turns her mother, Marion, into a zombie who is unable to love her surviving daughter. Ted Cole is a semisuccessful writer and illustrator of disturbingly creepy children's novels. His womanizing habits prove he's "as deceitful as a damaged condom," but he remains the only stable figure in Ruth's life. The tempestuous tale fast-forwards to the year 1990 when Ruth's soaring writing career is faring far better than her lackluster love life. The final segment of the novel ends in 1995 when 41-year-old Ruth is ready to fall in love for the first time.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AliceAnna - LibraryThing

One of his best. Great characters driving the plot. Even though the plot might have been unbelievable in places, the characters made you believe. Hard to explain, but the book just made me feel good. Ruth was a wonderful, strong, likable, complex character that you had to root for! Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Pferdina - LibraryThing

I was not as excited about this story as the other Irving novels I have read. I like the way he traces his characters' lives over decades of time, but they weren't as fascinating this time. Read full review

Contents

The Inadequate Lamp Shade
17
Summer Job
23
Unhappy Mothers
37
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

John Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times - winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. He also received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for the short story 'Interior Space'. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules - a film with seven Academy Award nominations. In 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent novel is Last Night in Twisted River.

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