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Book review

“A Widow For One Year”

By John Irving

Random House



You know the kind of book that creeps into your thoughts months after you’ve closed the cover? One with characters so defined you find yourself talking about them as if they were in your circle of friends?




“A Widow For One Year” spans the years between 1958 and 1995, divided into three distinct time periods. Nearly all the characters are writers – or become writers – during the course of the novel.

The story centers on relationships: an older woman and a teenage boy; a couple torn apart by the death of two sons; a mother who cannot love a daughter; and an unfaithful husband mired in serial, tawdry affairs.

The unloved daughter, Ruth, is the central character. The novel begins when Ruth is 4 years old and ends when she is a widow at 41. But it is Eddie (the teenage writer’s assistant) and Marion (Ruth’s mother) who provide the novel’s steamiest scenes and haunting imagery.

In a novel dealing with lost and failed love, the characters’ passion reminds us that great loves – even if only in our memory – will endure.

– Dixie Redfearn

Cascade Shores


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