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Weldon, Fay

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(British, 1933– )

Fay Weldon has been for nearly thirty years a prolific novelist, playwright, and polemicist. She used to work in an advertising agency, and is credited with inventing the slogan ‘Go to work on an egg’. She turns her gaze on women: their lives, emotions, and problems; their search for happiness. This chimed well with the rise of feminism and the foundation of publishing houses such as Virago, recently satirized in her novel and television series Big Women (1998). She speaks wittily and directly to the reader, having perfected a technique in her early work of short paragraphs in the present tense which allows her to take us into and out of her characters’ thoughts. There is about this writer something of the fairy-tale narrator. She is a wise woman who enchants her audience, while warning them about the world. Weldon's books always have a strong moral purpose and people's actions bring consequences. Praxis (1978) is one of her best novels and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1979. The new reader could begin with Remember Me (1976), a dazzling account of the revenge of a ghostly first wife. The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) was very well adapted for television and is a story about reinventing yourself: a recurring theme in Weldon's work. More recently novels like Affliction (1993) are about the pitfalls of psychotherapy.

Beryl Bainbridge, Alice Thomas Ellis, Margaret Forster  AG

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