From Publishers Weekly
Weldon (Worst Fears) returns in fine, sharp form in this mischievous dystopian tale. By 2013, capitalism has collapsed in Europe, and England has turned to protectionist policies, communal farms, and an intrusive National Unity Government that feeds its citizens National Meat Loaf and monitors people by street-corner CiviCams. In this bleak near-future, Frances Prideaux, once a successful writer of feminist novels and a proud product of the era of sexual liberation, is rehashing the sins of her past. As bailiffs try to repossess her house, Frances tells the story of her life--how she married her sister's boyfriend; rejected her stepson Henry, the revolution's creepily austere leader; and squandered her fortune and influence--and tries to keep tabs on her grandson, Amos, who is busy plotting against the government with his cohorts from Redpeace. This marvelously sardonic work shows a future that is all too close to reality, where family resentments and grim history are inextricable.
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“I am not cynical. I am just old. I know what is going to happen next,” says Frances in Weldon’s latest mix of memoir, fiction, and diary. But, in fact, it is difficult to predict what will happen next in Chalcot Crescent
, as it is “essentially plotless” (Seattle Times
). Readers may find themselves confused by the myriad unnecessary characters and offshoots from the main story. And while Weldon’s dystopia of Red Peace (stemming from Greenpeace) and communal vegetable plots is witty and creative, Frances’s recollections may seem familiar: as in many of Weldon’s previous novels, the heroine’s life mimics the author’s. Still, Weldon’s prose, clever, humorous, and satirical, remains brilliant as well as eminently quotable, and most readers should find plenty to enjoy in the adventures of the latest incarnation of Fay.