Annette Horrocks has every reason to be happy. She lives in a lovely London house with her devoted husband, Spicer; her first novel is about to be published; and after ten years of trying, she is finally pregnant. But Spicer is cruel and distant. He used to dismiss psychiatry, yet now he spouts New Age astrology and accuses Annette of murdering his inner child. Worse, Annette's friend Gilda discloses that Spicer is having an affair. Annette thinks she is going mad, and that's not even the end of it.
Trouble is fay Weldon's bracing, enticing return to the vengeful mode of The Life and Loves of a She-Devil—and a reminder that, while marriage has been a nightmare through the ages, now husbands have psychiatrists to make it worse.
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Fay Weldon was raised in a household of women in New Zealand, and produced four sons of her own, as if to balance the gender count. After taking degrees in economics and psychology at the University of Edinburgh, she survived a decade of odd jobs and hard times, then began writing film and television scripts and fiction. Among her eighteen novels and short-story collections are Trouble, Life Force, The Cloning of Joanna May, Darcy's Utopia, The Shrapnel Academy, The Life and Loves of a She-devil, Leader of the Band, Puffball, and The Heart of the Country, winner of the 1989 Los Angeles Times Fiction Award. Fay Weldon lives in London and Somerset.From Kirkus Reviews:
Weldon's latest satiric bauble about a marriage on the rocks (Life Force, 1992, etc.). ``We're all Serbs and Croats and Bosnians at heart,'' says the pregnant Annette Horrocks, and then goes on to describe a news photo she saw of several young men sawing through someone's neck in the former Yugoslavia. The picture parallels her own life, Annette says--only her husband has ``been sawing through the inside of my head, not the outside, that's all.'' Indeed, Spicer Horrocks has been--although he sees the changes he's making in his life as positive and necessary. He and Annette have been married for ten years when she starts noticing strange signs--he takes up astrology, pores over a book entitled Cutting Free from Hurtful Ties, won't let Annette speak during sex, and castigates her for everything. She tries to talk it out, with Spicer turning it all back on her; indulges him by going into therapy, only to be sexually assaulted by the shrink of Spicer's choice; and smiles and accepts the blame (she calls this doing a ``Tweetie-pie''). Her best friend, Gilda, suspects that Spicer's jealous because Annette's about to publish her first novel. But Spicer's Jungian analyst, Dr. Rhea Marks, has another explanation: ``Spicer is leaving you, Mrs. Horrocks, and the material world.'' Meanwhile, Spicer avoids putting the house in Annette's name and stashes away cash--to ease his passing to another plane? It takes an excruciatingly long time for Annette to stop letting herself be victimized...but she does. This begins with all the wicked froth we've come to expect from the author of The Live and Loves of a She-Devil (1984), then crashes into a wall of pessimism about relations between the sexes- -making it one of Weldon's bitterest efforts so far. She usually distributes her satire more evenhandedly; here, husbands and therapists get coated with it, while the wife comes out clean. Not Weldon's best, then, but bracing stuff nonetheless. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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