Sir Edwin Rice has decided to divorce Lady Angelica. She has behaved intolerably and is accused of abuse, violence, bestiality and lesbianism. But there is more to Angelica than her husband realizes - she is a wife, a tart, a star, a secretary and a brooding chap called Ajax. She is Everywoman.
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Divorce is one kind of split; adding an alternate personality is another. Angelica Rice experiences both sorts in this highly improper sendup of proper English society as Weldon (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) inventively tweaks stereotypical doting wives, vengeful-goddess types, efficient office workers, saucy sexpots and?per usual?men, by giving Angelica distinct personalities corresponding to each. As a young woman, Angelica isn't entirely neurotic; after a career as a 17-year-old pop star (of "Kinky Virgin" song fame), she weds country gentleman Sir Edwin Rice. Although her well-bred neighbors conduct unseemly affairs in classic comedy-of-manners fashion, Angelica remains loyal to Sir Edwin and styles herself as the prim "Lady Rice." But when, in her 30s, her 16-year marriage founders, Lady Rice experiences the reemergence of her earthy "Angelica" self, as well as the arrival of the pragmatic "Jelly White." Lady Rice is perfectly appalled when a lusty fourth identity seduces her chauffeur, and then a fifth self?a tough guy named "Ajax"?threatens to thrash Sir Edwin. Angelica, we learn, is not so much split as "perforated"?her personalities can cooperate with or challenge each other's actions. Meanwhile, Weldon again proves herself one of a kind, a smart satirist whose playful exploration of psychology reveals society's fault lines and fractures. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour; rights: Ed Victor Ltd.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When it comes to giving acid-tongued appraisals of the relations between the sexes, no one can touch Weldon. Her wickedly entertaining novels mix wildly exaggerated characters and incidents with some hard truths, in this case, about the emotional wreckage left in the wake of divorce. At 17, Angelica White is the lead singer in a successful rock band called the Kinky Virgins. When she meets Edwin Rice, she throws over her wild lifestyle, gains a title, and settles into a castlelike estate in the English countryside. Some years into her marriage, however, Lady Rice's small community is rent by sexual betrayal, and Edwin throws her out and sues for divorce. All of the nagging doubts that plagued Angelica during the course of her marriage split into a deafening chorus of voices, and she is gradually taken over by interior personae, including the dutiful Jelly and the sexually voracious Angel. It's always a pleasure to read a seasoned novelist in peak form; Weldon is in complete control of her material here, effortlessly shifting between laughter and tears. Joanne Wilkinson
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