This wild and tonic assortment of tales arrives like a flotilla escorting the author's new novel, Life Force (see above), though many of the stories included originally appeared in British and American women's magazines like Lear's and Elle. Still, Weldon's no garden variety lady's writer--she thrives on turning knee-jerk feminism on its ear, subverting sentimentalism, and speaking in the voices of some really awful people whose impossible behavior proves perversely entertaining, and occasionally edifying. This time, there's the gorgeous young grad student in ""Ind Aff"" (short for ""inordinate affection"") who's intent on luring her prof away from his wife (""How can he possibly choose her while I was on offer?""); but then a close look at his thinning hair makes her decide to move on to greener pastures. In ""Who Goes Where?"" one of the world's most selfish women, a second wife who won't let her husband see her hated stepchildren on Christmas Day, suddenly becomes nicer--and much less interesting. Weldon's idea of a Thanksgiving story compares an overworked Hispanic maid with her brutally demanding boss lady, Honey Marvin (""...thin as a praying mantis; hold up her mean little hand to the light and you could see right through it""); and in ""A Visit from Johannesburg or Mr. Shaving's Wives,"" a profligate husband who's caused the suicides of three spouses articulates certain truths about marriage that are both bitter to swallow and wise. Even when Weldon turns her attention to an undeniably sympathetic type, like Ruby, the struggling single mom in ""In Search of Mother Christmas,"" it's with a glint in her eye, since Ruby gets tangled up for life in her own maternal instincts. Huzzah for Weldon, then--despite a few antiseptically contrived offerings herein. She's still one of the funniest, smartest iconoclasts around.