A Widow for One Year

Version: Unabridged
Author: John Irving
Narrator: George Giudall
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: July 2005
# of Units: 20 CDs
Length: 24 hours
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Twenty years after The World According to Garp, John Irving gives us a new novel about a family marked by tragedy and the "difficult" women who survive.

Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character. 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 critical time in her life. When we first meet her -- in the Hamptons in the summer of 1958 -- Ruth is only four. Her parents, having suffered the loss of two children before Ruth was born, are still haunted by their memories of these unspeakable deaths; now Ruth's mother is having an affair with a sixteen-year-old boy, while her father sleeping with someone else's wife.

The second window into Ruth's life opens in the fall of 1990, when Ruth is a renowned author -- and an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. Ruth distrusts her judgment in men, for good reason.

A Widow for One Year closes in tile autumn of 1995, when Ruth Cole is a widow and a mother. She's 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.

Reviews (4)

couldn't get past reader

Written by Carrie62 on April 19th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I love John Irving's books, but I couldn't get past the actor who was doing the reading. Too stiff and announcer-like.

Loved it!

Written by Anonymous on October 11th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is a great book. Very long, but worth investing the time. John Irving is a timeless writer. You fall easily in love with his characters and all of their quirks and dysfunctions.

A Widow for One Year

Written by Donna on May 8th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A fantastic book. This one is long (22 CD's) but there was nothing that wasn't interesting, funny, well written. Irving's mind is AWESOME; where he goes with a character and how he never forgets a detail of that character and winds it ALL together, is a true gift.


Written by Gilma Chute on May 7th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Dysfunction is in the blood of the Coles in John Irving's remarkable "a Widow for one year". This novel reads like a patchwork achievement copying with many characters in three different periods in the life of Ruth Cole, when she deals with things like grieving, lost and tragedy. 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 am struck by how Irving responds to his own critics through the Ruth Character. As and adult, Ruth Cole is a successful author. Ruth responds to criticism about a book that centers on the life of a writer, which is precisely what a Widow for One Year is. I get the impressed Irving uses the character of Ruth to express a lot of his emotion about being a writer.

Author Details

Author Details

Irving, John

John Irving is the author of numerous novels for adults, including "A Widow for One Year, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany," and "The World According to Garp," He lives in Vermont and Toronto.