Marion Cole, a thirty-nine-year-old woman — and a faithful wife for twenty-two years — has an affair with a sixteen-year-old boy; she then leaves her philandering husband. And also abandons her four-year-old daughter, Ruth.
By the age of thirty-six, Ruth Cole has become an internationally acclaimed novelist. But she is an angry, impulsive, often self-contradictory, unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career, and she distrusts her judgement in men, for good reason. Five years later, at forty-one, Ruth Cole is a widow and a mother. Ruth's child is the same age Ruth was when her mother left her. Now Ruth is about to fall in love for the first time.
A Widow for One Year is a multilayered love story of astonishing emotional force. Both richly comic and erotic, it is also a brilliant novel about the passage of time and the relentlessness of grief.
"[As] satisfying as one of Shakespeare's romances ... rich in perfect details [and] ... miraculous events, the sort that are longed for and cherished, the sort that sustain the imagination when reality becomes too disappointing."
—The Financial Post
"Full of the antics of scorned lovers and infatuated youth, of madcap chases and boisterous lovemaking ... He offers ... a faith in patient storytelling and the conviction that narrative hunger is part of our essence."
—Carol Shields, The Globe and Mail
"Powerful and sophisticated ... A stunning narrative ... wonderful, sumptuous, entertaining."
—The Ottawa Citizen
"[Irving's] storytelling has never been better... engaging and affecting ... old-fashioned and modern all at once."
—The New York Times
"[A] rich, great new novel ... profoundly engaging and lively ... Irving unearths [the] departed beauty in our lives."
—Quill & Quire
"Irving is at the height of his considerable literary powers. His novels burst with stories, characters, arguments, oddities and images that help us define the world we live in."