The Heart of the Country

The Heart of the Country

By (author) Fay Weldon


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At 6.30pm one Thursday, Natalie Harris's world fell apart when she discovered her husband, Harry Harris, had eloped with Miss Eddon Gurney 1978. Natalie is utterly abandoned in the heart of the country, but then she meets Sonia and her life is changed forever. From the bestselling author of The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil and The Cloning of Joanna May.

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  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 18mm | 158.76g
  • 27 Sep 1992
  • London
  • English
  • 0099147718
  • 9780099147718
  • 1,609,379

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Author Information

Fay Weldon was born and brought up in New Zealand, and went to St. Andrews University, Scotland, where she graduated in Economics and Psychology. After a decade of odd jobs, she started writing and now, though primarily a writer of novels - Praxis, Puffball, The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil and Habits of the House amongst them - she has also written short stories, radio dramas and scripts for stage and screen, including the landmark TV series Upstairs, Downstairs for which she won the Writers Guild Award for Best British TV Series Script.

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Review quote

"Confirms her genius for improvisation" Observer "Witty, entertaining and intelligent" Times Literary Supplement "Fay Weldon's novels are sharp as needles. This latest has such a fine point it almost draws blood" Daily Mail

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Review text

Weldon's acidulous merriment, fueled by a generous jeroboam of 100-proof feminism and clicking with admonishing commentary, buckets into yet another tale about hapless women and genially awful men - the latter to get an all-too-slight comeuppance, while the women, briefly, see the light of liberation. The whole crowd, Weldon implies, is not too swift. Harry and Natalie Harris, dwelling in a "dream cottage" with two not-too-attractive preadolescent children, are a serenely dull couple. One day, Harry runs off with a local beauty queen - never to return; and Natalie, pretty as a Chaplin heroine "with that same blank look of sexy idiocy," will soon have no money, house, or even food. Like a toy doll weighted at the bottom, Natalie the Passive seems determined to stay down. Then there's the combined effect of misleading information, insult, dismissal, etc. from such as: ex-lover Arthur the antique-dealer (with whom Natalie had been having a tidy affair); Angus the real-estate broker, who will offer mistress-hood; a bank manager; police-school staff; welfare department, etc. In spite of the fact that Natalie had once committed a sin of the rich - "splashing the poor" - and with her car had splashed welfare mother Sonia (forced to walk since deserted by her excrescence of a husband), Sonia takes in Natalie. There are other miserable wives-about-town, as well as a beauteous cleaning girl, who will pay a spectacular price for the women's grand liberating gesture during a carnival parade. While Natalie and various women gloomily survey their marriages, an enterprising group, including Arthur and Angus, has set up, for deprived British farmers, a clandestine warehouse of forbidden chemicals - a venture later happily closed but now housing an honest gardenstore with plants of extraordinary size but nary a butterfly. Much less strenuous than Weldon's The Hearts and Lives of Men (p. 85), but it's galloping, good, mean fun, kept in check by those Weldon homiletic zingers. (Kirkus Reviews)

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