Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character — a "difficult" woman. By no means is she conventionally "nice", but she will never be forgotten.
Ruth's story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her in the summer of 1958 on Long Island, Ruth is only four.
The second window into Ruth's life opens in the fall of 1990, when Ruth is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. She distrusts her judgment in men, for good reason.
A Widow for One Year closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth Cole is a 41-year-old widow and mother — and about to fall in love for the first time.
Richly comic, as well as deeply disturbing, A Widow for One Year is a multilayered love story of astonishing emotional force. Both ribald and erotic, it is also a brilliant novel about the passage of time and the relentlessness of grief.
"Irving's most entertaining and persuasive novel since...
The World According to Garp." (
The New York Times)
"Impressive....There's hardly a writer alive who can match his control of the omniscient point of view." ( The Washington Post Book World)
"Wisely and carefully crafted...Irving is among the few novelists who can write a novel about grief and fill it with ribald humor soaked in irony." ( USA Today)
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A Lecture in Writing Fiction as Fiction