LIFE FORCE by Fay Weldon

LIFE FORCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Weldon's kicking up her heels again, and raising great, intoxicating clouds of dust, in this delectable new novel written all around the theme of infidelity. Or perhaps the theme's just sex--which, when it occurs extramaritally, can't be gainsaid or stopped: it's just the ""Life Force...leaping...like electricity, from this one to that one, burning us up, wearing us out, making us old, passing on, its only purpose its own survival...the best thing that ever happened to us."" Here, the ""Life Force"" is embodied by an ambitious London developer, Leslie Beck, he ""of the active penis,"" which is on record as being ""exactly one-seventh his height"" (and he is not that short). In the 70's, it seems, a bevy of yuppie housewives danced to his tune, including: the lonely mountain-climber's wife Rosalie (whose husband walked into the hills one day and never returned); her friend Nora; Nora's erstwhile friend Susan (whom Nora caught in a clutch with her very own husband, ergo the erstwhile); and Marion, who, together with Leslie, sold the baby they made to a nice couple from Johannesburg, and then opened an art gallery with the spoils. Twenty years after foxy Leslie has had his day in the chicken coop, he reappears, a 60-year-old widower, to make things happen in the lives of all these women again. The results are perfect Weldon off-the-wall: arson set by Nora since her husband's finally left her; the surprise appearance of Leslie and Marion's South African son; and the return of Rosalie's mountaineering Ulysses, who shows up just in time to save Rosalie from being electrocuted in the bathtub by a mass murderer beau. Who cares if the voice occasionally sounds a little treacly as it addresses its ""dear reader."" The rest is great fun: Virginia Woolf with a pineapple on her head and no problem with sex at all.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Viking