The Bulgari Connection
finds Fay Weldon on familiar ground, chronicling the pains and pleasures of the battle of the sexes, in this enjoyably funny novel. Set in glamorous contemporary London, Weldon's story begins with the proverbial love triangle. Wealthy, dissatisfied, self-made businessman Barley Salt leaves his frumpy wife, Grace, for the glamorous TV host Doris Dubois. Grace concedes that her husband "has aged better than I have," and that Doris "is 23 years younger than I am. She is slimmer than I am, and more clever." Grace tries but fails to run Doris over, and for her pains is sentenced to three years in jail. However, when she meets the struggling young artist Walter Wells, with his preference for "the blown rose not the bud," Grace literally has a new lease of life. As her life takes on new meaning, Barley and Doris start to lose control of their own self-centered lives.
The Bulgari Connection is a fast-moving, highly readable novel of greed, middle-aged deceit, and love, but feels like it was written in the 1980s, not the early 21st century. This is effortless Weldon, although many of her fans will feel that it is marking time rather than breaking new ground. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk
Weldon is at her wicked best in this crisp, hilarious page-turner about ambition and love. Barley Salt (a millionaire, not a condiment) is one of those silver-haired, square-jawed gentlemen born to wear expensive suits, get rich, and fall for younger women, but he seriously miscalculated when he took up with Doris Dubois. Host of a hip but fatuous TV arts program, Doris is a delectably evil femme fatale, and Barley's first wife, Grace, was right to try to run her over. Just out of prison, Grace runs into the glamorous couple at a charity function where a portrait of the hostess wearing a fabulous Bulgari necklace that Doris covets is auctioned off. The young and handsome painter falls instantly in love with the much older ex-con, and soon Grace grows more lithe and youthful while Walter thickens up and slows down. Meanwhile, Doris and Barley are finally seeing each other clearly, to their mutual dismay. Weldon's diabolically clever satire of greed, fashion, sex, and age is smart entertainment of the highest order. In a curious twist, it turns out that Weldon accepted money from Bulgari for product placement. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved