A brilliant and caustic cautionary tale from one of Britain's best-loved and most controversial writers.Hattie and Martyn are a decent, hard-working, ecologically-minded young couple - partners with a new baby, bickering over whether they should get married or not and how to arrange their lives in a morally sustainable way. Hattie has given up work to look after baby Kitty, but she is, frankly, bored by domesticity. They meet Agnieszka, a Polish domestic paragon who's married to a bus driver back home and is sending money back to her old mother and sister. Morally responsible couple that they are, Martyn and Hattie take pity and invite her to live with them.Hattie eventually succumbs to temptation and asks Agnieszka to baby-sit, and soon she's back at full-time work. In fact life is pretty much as it was before the baby came along, except the house is cleaner and better organized, and she's galloping ahead in her career. Martyn is thrilled and wants a marriage ceremony but Hattie refuses: life is perfect as it is, thanks to the existence of Agnieszka, who is modest, docile, prepared to work for a pittance, and not even too pretty for comfort. And if she tells the occasional lie - the little sister turns out to be a child - and her social attitudes are atrocious, well, they can be overlooked. She'll learn our ways along with the English language.But soon, things begin to sour. Martyn and Agnieszka grow closer and it occurs to Hattie now that baby Kitty, given a choice, would choose Agnieszka over her. Her friends are warning her - but that's too vulgar for consideration. And their lives are by now hopelessly intertwined - it's too late. And so the downward spiral continues as visas, a marriage of convenience and even her own friends and family conspire to force Hattie out of her home and her partner's bed ...
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Fay Weldon was born and raised in New Zealand. Her novels and short stories have been bestsellers around the world and have been awarded great critical acclaim. Her film and TV work wins enthusiastic viewers by the million, worldwide.From Booklist:
The acerbic Weldon aims some well-honed barbs at political correctness in this amusing send-up of modern relationships and child-rearing practices. In their mid-thirties--handsome, healthy, and well educated--literary agent Hattie and crusading journalist Martyn have been thrown off their game by the arrival of their infant daughter. While on maternity leave, Hattie feels particularly oppressed by the domestic routine: she's rotten at ironing, can't seem to soothe her baby, and hasn't worn an unstained garment in weeks. She suggests they hire an au pair, but Martyn has serious qualms about the ethics of having a servant. However, once Martyn experiences the calming effect the Polish nanny has on his household--which allows him to sleep late and eat gourmet meals, not to mention witness demonstrations of her belly-dancing lessons--his political principles crumble, but so does his relationship with Hattie. Narrating the whole turn of events is Hattie's 72-year-old grandmother, Frances, a character who allows Weldon to describe the changing attitudes toward children and marriage over four generations as well as to incorporate many autobiographical details that will be familiar to readers of her memoirs ( Auto da Fay, 2003). Throwing in one final unexpected but delicious twist at the end, Weldon delivers another of her trademark takes on the domestic wars. Joanne Wilkinson
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Book Description Harper Perennial, 2006. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780006551652