A Widow For One Year Paperback – 1 Jun 1999
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"Wickedly knowing, mischievously post-modern and magical realist along the lines of Gunter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Robertson Davies" (Time Out)
"Gripping, full of horror and humour" (Literary Review)
"A compelling chronicle of love and loss... His most intricate and fully imagined novel" (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Irving's storytelling has never been better" (New York Times)
"His best since Garp" (Time)
A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
And then there are numerous 'books within a book', from children's stories to a novel about murdered prostitutes, all awfully uninteresting stuff which got in the way of the proper novel, so I found myself skipping pages almost from the start. There are some gems hidden in all this mish-mash, some flashes of genius involving a deeply tragic story line, and I liked the part of the book which explored parental grief; that was nuanced and complex, done with sensitivity, and utterly convincing. Everything else, sorry to say, was neither entertaining nor particularly thought-provoking. The writing is OK, beautiful in places but marred by a stupid amount of words in italics - sometimes, 4-5 to the page. It really annoyed the life out of me, this and the far too many exclamation marks. I couldn't believe the amateurish editing.
So my advice is, if you're new to John Irving don't start with this book, it'll probably put you off this writer and it would be a shame, because most of his other books are superb.
Sadly, this is not the case. Once we are (arbitrarily) flung some forty years into the future, the remainder of the book is self-conscious navel-gazing, focusing on the trials and tribulations of being a successful niche market author. Oh John! Please! This isn't 'magic realism', it's a silly exercise in exorcising your demons, and this narcissism drags the book down with it. Part three is a little better, picking the pace up again, but the long and meandering second section took all the momentum and impetus out of the book and renders later events almost irrelevant. If you are looking for an introduction to John Irving, look elsewhere - ardent fans may lap it up, but it is certainly not his finest hour.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The titular “Widow for One Year” is Ruth Cole, one of the book’s main characters, although she is only a widow in the last of the three sections into which it is divided. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J C E Hitchcock
I had the impression the whole story was made up by a teen girl, it was so unrealistic and cringe-worthy. Shame as I really liked other Irving's books.Published 6 months ago by MA
From start to finish this book had me hooked. It's been many years since I last read an Irving novel, time wastedPublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
I found all the characters rather unappealing and I found I was really rather uninterested in their journey which, is unusual for me.Published 20 months ago by EMC