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Rhode Island Blues (Weldon, Fay) Kindle Edition
On one side of the Atlantic, Sophia Moore, an emotionally guarded film editor—troubled by her mother's long-ago suicide and her father's abandonment—overworks, incessantly contemplates her past, and continues an unfulfilling affair with the famous director of her latest movie.
But when she travels to the other side of the Atlantic to help her octogenarian grandmother Felicity settle into a Rhode Island retirement community, she begins to unravel mysteries about her family history—including the fact that Felicity is not, as she’d thought, her only living relative. Meanwhile, Felicity learns to gamble, falls in love, and uncovers the truth about the residence’s evil nurse Dawn. A hilarious tale of secrets, schemes, and late-life love, Rhode Island Blues is Booker Prize nominee Fay Weldon at her witty best.
“Smart and funny, Weldon's boldly plotted and finely crafted tale deftly satirizes our infinite capacity for self-delusion.”—Booklist
“Loaded with lively, appealing characters and satisfying, unpredictable plot turns.”—Elle
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Inside Flap
Fay Weldon's extraordinary wit lights up every page. Staggeringly beautiful and honest, Rhode Island Blues tells a story of longing, love, and, ultimately, forgiveness, as it holds a magnifying glass to the human heart.
"Weldon's gift for spiking her witty and rompingly entertaining fiction with incisive social critiques flow unabated in her newest novel, a whirlwind drama of sexual politics and family secrets.... Smart and funny, Weldon's boldly plotted and finely crafted tale deftly satirizes our infinite capacity for self-delusion."--Booklist
"Felicity's escapades and Sophia's investigations alike reveal a familiar cast of villains...whose selfishness, greed, and cruelty Weldon's joyously caustic cadences hammer as they frolic and tickle the humorously humane readers she invites us to be."--Kirkus Reviews
Fay Weldon was born in England, was raised in New Zealand, and received her master's in economics and psychology from St. Andrews University in Scotland. She is the author of Big Girls Don't Cry, Wicked Women, Splitting, and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, among many other novels, plays, and two books of nonfiction.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B005FFPUS2
- Publisher : Grove Press (December 1, 2007)
- Publication date : December 1, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 1032 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 340 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,674,677 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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But sorry, Fay, I barely read halfway through Rhode Island Blues when I decided to leave the characters to whatever fates might befall them.
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. When Sophia visits an aged relative Weldon notes that this old lady tends to use references from the fairy books of her youth in her conversation. Maybe what Weldon is saying here is that the motion picture is now the dominant form of fiction. Unfortunately, it really grinds my teeth to come across yet another character in an English novel this year that works in the Soho media world. If future readers ever come back to these novels, like Toby Litt's 'Corpsing', and Amy Jenkins' dire 'Honeymoon', they might think that everyone in England was working in film. The only writer who has a credible excuse for writing about Soho is Christopher Fowler who actually works there. The impression I get is that most young English novelists would really much rather prefer writing for the movies, and I can't help but think that this is very sad.
Sophia mentions many films in her narrative, whilst neglecting to mention the most obvious one: 'Harvey'. Okay, so The Golden Bowl is an old peoples' home, but it does stand comparison with the mental institution in Jimmy Stewart's movie. Okay, so you don't get to see the invisible rabbit in 'Rhode Island Blues' either - it's the interaction between the characters and the structure that seems quite similar. You don't see the whole of this story from Sophia's viewpoint, since Weldon chooses to flit between the main characters at times. It's quite a jolt to suddenly see the world from Nurse Dawn's perspective, who seems to be such a minor character otherwise. But then 'Harvey' also strayed from Jimmy Stewart's suspect vision, into other smaller narratives, such as the nurse's romance with the doctor. Although, this being Weldon, the Doctor/Nurse relationship here is far more risqué.
Feliticty's mental health comes into question when she starts seeing a gambling toy boy, and when the staff at The Golden Bowl discover what we've known all along - namely that her Utrillo painting is not a print. With insurance being such a premium in the litigatory States, moves are made to ensure the safe removal of the Utrillo from the Golden Bowl's walls (James Stewart's mental state in 'Harvey' was also brought into question due to a suspect portrait). Unfortunately, Felicity has also let slip to Sophia that she may have more family in England. Sophia, all alone apart from a temporary fling with a film director of Kubrick's stature, can't help but investigate her roots. She finds a couple of quite dull cousins who eventually let her enter their lives. Felicity impulsively decides to remarry at the tender age of 83. Sophia's cousins just as impulsively decide to check out their newly found grandmother, and petulantly join Sophia on her trip to the States. The question on everyone's minds seems to be this: is such an old woman capable of looking after a valuable Utrillo?
Ironically, Utrillo spent much of his own life in and out of institutions, with painting his only therapy. From this point of view, it's very fitting that his work should end up on the walls of an institution like The Golden Bowl. Sophia recognises the name of the old peoples' home as deriving from a passage in Ecclesiastes. No doubt it is also a reference to the novel of the same name - that also featured a suspected gold digger. What this novel seems to be about broadly, is the clash between the new and the old: the disparities between British and American culture, the contrast between the generations, and old and new forms of fiction. Several novels this year have discussed a problem which currently troubles Western culture: what to do with an ever aging population, from Will Self's vulgar 'How the Dead Live', to Barbara Kingsolver's life-affirming 'Prodigal Summer'. Weldon comes somewhere in between the two extremes. There is something quite merciless about some of her observations, mostly concerning the immigrant Charlie and his ever-increasing family. But most chilling and timely of all is Sophia's disquieting journey on Concorde. However, Weldon provides us with a mixed dish here; not all of her prognosis is quite as gloomy as this. The blues are there, but playing quietly in the background with the reds.