Weldon, Fay Godless in Eden

ISBN 13: 9780007291779

Godless in Eden

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9780007291779: Godless in Eden

A selection of lectures and essays contributed to newspapers, magazines and books over recent years, revised for this volume and all highly relevant to today.

In these essays find a portrait of the times, to help us map our way through the new Garden of Eden, in which men hold the baby and women the mobile phone. The garden is timeless, its beauties are ineradicable, the angel’s blazing sword no longer bars the way – so what’s going wrong? Tricky to see the wood for the trees in this new-old land, hard to find a Third Way through: let this collection point the way.

From the changing face of government, the feminisation of politics, the stamping of the warrior foot, to whence and whither Feminism, via the dangerous new cult of Therapism, to our turbulent and benighted Royals, brushing up against the famous (Roseanne, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jean Paul Gaultier) on the way – it’s all here. Plus a rare glimpse of the author’s life and loves.

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Review:

"Since the unemployed appear to be burnt offerings to the stability of our economy," writes Fay Weldon, at the beginning of "The Way We Live Now", "...I think they should be treated with vast respect and allowed to live in peace, dignity and the utmost comfort." The opening salvo sounds the tone of Weldon's Godless in Eden, a collection which establishes her range, and skill, as an essayist. At once engaging and infuriating, political and comic, intimate and public, Weldon's writing bulges with ideas and opinions--from the trials of New Labour to the blindspots of an old dream of feminism, from progress (or demise) of the House of Windsor to the "Age of Therapism" (a veritable hobbyhorse for Weldon).

As a feminist prepared to criticise feminism ("Pity the Poor Men"), Weldon confronts her readers with some of the issues that, for women, refuse to go away, offering a timely reminder to politicians and cultural critics alike. "Feminism has been used as a cloak," she suggests, "under shelter of which women have been driven out into the workforce, and their children turned over into the nightmare called childcare." It's the kind of insight into the everyday difficulty of living, and working, that enlivens Weldon's book--and serves to counterbalance the weight of prejudice she can bring to bear elsewhere. On psychotherapy, for example: psychotherapists, Weldon insists, are "failed novelists: they had taken to psychotherapy in order to write living novels in the minds of the helpless and unhappy." Deeply suspicious of philanthropy and falsely good behaviour ("The road to social hell is paved with an excess of empathy"), Weldon's sense of irony sees her through in this ultimately comfortable sketch of the life and times of a she-devil. --Vicky Lebeau

Review:

‘Comic brilliance.’
Daily Telegraph

‘A master storyteller. The life story which emerges from her new book is a ripping yarn. Her political insights are all the more profound for being relayed in her unique narrative style.’
Sunday Herald, Glasgow

‘Irresistible.’
Cambridge Evening News

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Weldon, Fay
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