A weekend in the country goes awry in Fay Weldon’s wickedly entertaining novel of lust, avarice, and murder
Nineteen-year-old Elsa is poor in material goods, but rich in looks. Her employer and lover, forty-four-year-old Victor, used to be a tax accountant. Now he’s an antique dealer who gave up his family for Elsa, and together they live in a room behind his shop. For her birthday, Victor is treating Elsa to a weekend in the country, courtesy of his rich friends, Hamish and his wheelchair-bound wife, Gemma, who mistakes Elsa for Victor’s daughter. Not the most propitious way to start the weekend. Things go from bad to worse when Gemma starts treating Elsa like a home wrecker and Victor proposes a partner swap. Elsa is about to discover the darker side of “happily ever after” in this story about love, life, and fairy tales that never come true.
“A rich brew of sex, greed and the macabre.” —The Times (London) “Beautifully written and constructed . . . funny and humane.” —Financial Times “[Weldon is] the best woman writer in Britain.” —Woman
Novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Fay Weldon was born in England, brought up in New Zealand, and returned to the United Kingdom when she was fifteen. She studied economics and psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She worked briefly for the Foreign Office in London, then as a journalist, and then as an advertising copywriter. She later gave up her career in advertising, and began to write fulltime. Her first novel, The Fat Woman’s Joke, was published in 1967. She was chair of the judges for the Booker Prize for fiction in 1983, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews in 1990. In 2001, she was named a Commander of the British Empire. Weldon’s work includes more than twenty novels, five collections of short stories, several children’s books, nonfiction books, magazine articles, and a number of plays written for television, radio, and the stage, including the pilot episode for the television series Upstairs Downstairs. She-Devil, the film adaption of her 1983 novel The Life and Loves of a She Devil, starred Meryl Streep in a Golden Globe–winning role.