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Rhode Island Blues Hardcover – November 30, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st American ed edition (November 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871137755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871137753
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,016,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Can true love be found at the age of 83? It comes to pass in Weldon's latest offering (Big Girls Don't Cry, etc.), a jaunty but somewhat jaded romantic caper set in a Rhode Island retirement home and in London's Soho district. Felicity Moore is an attractive, sexually active octogenarian grandmother who has decided to move into the Golden Bowl Complex for Creative Retirement, an ominous institution where the staff is motivated to keep the occupants alive via financial inducements. Felicity's granddaughter, Sophia King, is a 34-year-old British film editor who'd rather live in the imaginary world of film (where she can discard unpleasantness on the cutting-room floor) than face the reality of her mother's suicide, her own simultaneous loathing of and longing for progeny, and her apparent lack of family relations aside from Felicity. When Sophia comes to New England to help Felicity settle into the Golden Bowl, she learns that her grandmother had another daughter whom she gave up for adoption more than a half century earlier. While Sophia returns to London in search of her long-lost aunt, Felicity falls in love with a compulsive gambler and together they outsmart the evil and sadistic Nurse Dawn. Between live half-sisters, dead stepchildren and cousins lengthily removed, the reader feels in need of a diagrammed family tree. Weldon's signature caustic humor enlivens this somewhat overwritten story, which succeeds in establishing that the search for ancestry is fairly complicated and usually disappointing. Since this is Weldon's first novel set in America, canny marketing might add more stateside readers to her devoted fans (who won't miss Weldon's name emblazoned across the cover). Agent, Russell Galen, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Sophia, a 34-year-old London film editor, has always yearned for a bigger family. Her parents are dead; her grandmother, Felicity, lives in Rhode Island. But then Felicity mentions Alison, the daughter she gave up for adoption. Alison is found, along with her children Guy and Lorna, both miserly intellectuals. In a novel spanning both sides of the Atlantic and covering nearly 100 years of family history, Weldon constructs a wickedly humorous and wise novel. Sophia and Felicity, both determined and lively women, anchor the narrative. Sophia wonders about her desultory relationship with Harry Krassner, the large, loud, and charismatic director who ends up in her bed because he is too cheap to take a taxi. Meanwhile, in the Rhode Island nursing home, Felicity, at age 83, falls in love with shady William Johnson and becomes increasingly suspicious of intrusive nurse Dawn. The novel is loose and sprawling but a great deal of fun to read. For all public libraries.
-DYvette Olson, City Univ. Lib., Renton, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of her best; I couldn't put it down. An intricate, clever, funny, touching book that is Fay Weldon in top form. The characters feel very real, and their situations are truly compelling. I really enjoyed this book.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joanne H. Villforth on August 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As I started reading this book, I felt the author was a very negative person. At the end I still had this feeling, but it was a compelling story none the less. Her writing style made me think, and I had to go back and read several passages again to get the full meaning of her words. The story was a depressing one for the characters, but their life's stories intertwining with each other were fascinating. I'm so glad she didn't let all her characters have the typical happy ending leaving you to feel that their lives would still be full of ups and downs.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. Mahoney on November 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It would be all too easy to assume from the title of Weldon's latest novel that it is a depressing read. However, I doubt that Weldon could ever seriously be mournful, especially not when you have both nurses and desire inextricably linked, as you have here. There's just a brief mention of Blues hero Stephane Grapelli, but that's just about how far the relevance goes. However, if you do know who Grapelli is, then you may well be of Felicity's generation in this novel. The title's also an oblique reference to Rhode Island Reds, a particularly fancied breed of chicken at the moment. Apparently, these poultry are extremely easy to rear. It's just Felicity's luck however, that she marries an American GI who hasn't a clue about how to run his own farm. She's even more unfortunate in that she believed his tales of a plantation mansion. Fifty years later, the funeral of her son-in-law from this marriage leads to a quite unexpected flirtation with romance.
Admittedly, parts of Felicity's life story are quite grim. Sophia, her only living relative, works in London as a film editor, whilst Felicity herself abides in Connecticut. Felicity has had a minor stroke, and is coming to terms with the reality of her advancing years. Sophia loves her grandmother - it's just that she feels far more comfortable when the Atlantic Ocean is in between them. Her busy life as a film editor means that she cannot just drop everything and be by her grandmother's bedside in Connecticut. Weldon is very perceptive in relating how much guilt can taint love, and how uncomfortable the young can be beside the old.
Sophia, and Charlie the chauffeur, tend to view the world from the perspective of the movies.
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