Sunday, January 15, 2006

She may not leave

She writes well, this Fay Weldon. The words go straight to the heart. But the style of "She may not leave" is taxing: I would read a few pages and feel tired (this from somebody who read Rich Man Poor Man at one sitting). Because this is my only Weldon so far, I can't tell whether the style is a bug or a feature. Still, on I went, hoping for a twist at the end... and when it came, I felt the knife. And before you all raise your eyebrows (SPOILER SPOILER), it's not about the fact that the au pair gets the husband. It's about the heroine's reaction. This book, about career women and au pairs, is probably not meant for emotionally vulnerable mothers.

Sleeping Arrangements

So whenever I tired of Weldon, I reached for my well-loved copy of Madeleine Wickham's "Sleeping arrangements". Now here is an author I can read cover to cover time and time again. Coincidentally, this book has a one-liner that ties in neatly with the theme of "She may not leave": loosely quoted, it says that the relationship between the nanny and her employer is that of hatred: the nanny envies the employer's money, the employer envies the nanny's sex life.

The Undomestic Goddess

But I digress. For those of you who don't know, Madeleine Wickham also writes as Sophie Kinsella (of the Shopaholic fame, and, more recently, "Can you keep a secret" and "The Undomestic Goddess"), and proves the theory that one should write down to your reader in order to become a best-selling novelist.

2 comments:

lee pletzers said...

...one should write down to your reader in order to become a best-selling novelist.

In other words, don't use $20 words when a $1 word would work.

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

In other words, forget the 10% of readers who like an intelligent, competent heroine. To make money, follow the Brigit Jones (inexplicable) craze, and write about women whose greatest dream is buying a designer scarf.