Ruth Cole is a little girl when the first section of this book, set in 1958, opens. Her father is an author world famous for his children's book. But he really doesn't like to write - what he really likes to do is draw. And what he really likes to draw is young mothers, women whom he seduces one after another. Her mother knows about his affairs - which obviously anger her. Still, she is preoccupied with the couple's two sons, who were killed several years earlier in a car accident. In the summer of 1958, Ted Cole hires Eddie, a boy of fifteen, to be his assistant. As it turns out, he really wants the boy to sleep with Marion. Marion and Eddie do in fact begin an affair which will have ramifications Ted never thought of - Marion ends up leaving Ted, Ruth, and Eddie at the end of the summer.
The second section of the book is set in 1990. Marion has now been missing for more than thirty years. By this time, Ruth has grown up and become a famous author in her own right. By chance, she meets Eddie, whom she knows was her mother's lover. She is thinking of marrying her editor when she goes on a book-signing tour to Amsterdam where she witnesses a gruesome crime, in the city's Red Light district.
The third section of this book, which takes part in 1995, brings all the elements of this story together.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines
Ruth at age of 4 is deserted by her mother who has never gotten over the deaths of Ruth's older brothers. Ruth is raised by her father successfully. Ruth become a writer just as her father was. Ruth gets married and her mother doesn't show up. Ruth runs into an old lover of her mother's, Eddie, who tells Ruth about her mother. Eddie is also a writer and has never gotten over his love for Ruth's mother. He sends his books to Ruth's mother who then comes back into Eddie's and Ruth's lives.
This report prepared by Liz Pursley
It is the late 1950's and Eddie is in love with Marion Cole, the wife of the writer Ted Cole, whom Eddie is working for. Cole's marriage is falling apart due to Ted's philandering and Marion's obsession with her two dead sons. She is so obsessed by their memory that she can't bring herself to take care of her four year old daughter, Ruth, and one day just walks out and disappears from all their lives for good. For years and years after, Eddie and Ruth, and to a point, Ted, suffer the consequences of Marion's abandonment. A Widow for One Year proves once again that John Irving is America's premier storyteller. The book is a finely woven tale of tragedy and comedy, perfectly detailed and utterly unforgettable.
This report prepared by Darina Milovanovich
A Widow For One Year, tells the life of Ruth and her relationships with her father, who raised her alone, after her mother "disappeared," and Eddie, the man who was hopelessly in love with her mother.
This report prepared by Amanda