Book 50 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from July 28 - August 14
A Widow for One Year by John Irving
Summary (via the book jacket)
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. Her story is told in three part, each focusing on a critical time in her life.
When we first meet her - on Long Island in the summer of 1958 - Ruth is only four.
The second time we meet Ruth it is 1990, when she is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. She distrusts her judgement in men, for good reason.
The book closes in 1995 when Ruth is forty-one years old, a widow and a mother. She's about to fall in love for the first time.
This is the first John Irving book I've read and I can't believe it's taken me so long. I loved his descriptive writing style. It's a long book but none of the words felt unnecessary and it passed so quickly. 668 pages and I wasn't ready for it to be over; that's a huge statement.
This experience represented everything I love about reading, when time passes and I'm lost in the book. I can't wait to read everything he's written.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"She might not know what to do about boyfriends - especially one who wanted to marry her - and she might not know how to deal with her father, about whom her feelings were sorely mixed. She might not know whether to hate her best friend, Hannah, or to forgive her. But when it came to her writing, Ruth Cole was the picture of confidence and concentration."
"[Ruth] struggled to summon that state of calm in which she composed her novels. Ruth thought of a novel as a great, untidy house, a disorderly mansion; her joy was to make the place fit to live in, to give it at least the semblance of order. Only when she wrote was she unafraid."