A Widow for One Year

By John Irving

In the first chapter of A Widow For One Year, Ruth Cole, a four-year-old child, walks in on her 39-year-old mother having sex with Ruth's father's teenage assistant. It's a shocking scene, but also a funny and revealing scene. It's a very John Irving type of scene. Irving has such an interesting style. He telegraphs everything; indeed, he tells you everything before it happens, and yet when the time finally comes you still find yourself completely drawn into the moment. That takes skill. The rest of the book follows the lives of Ruth, her parents, and Eddie, the teenage assistant. One of the things that intrigued me the most is Irving's descriptions of the types of writers that Ruth, her parents, and Eddie are, or become. There's a lot in there that seems like it must be autobiographical to some extent, which is ironic in light of the fact that Ruth, herself, disdains autobiographical fiction. I'm not sure what else I could talk about that wouldn't give away too much of the plot--and in a John Irving novel the plot is what drives the book--but suffice it to say that it was a great read.

Started: 10/11/2004 | Finished: 10/23/2004

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