TROUBLE by Fay Weldon


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 Weldon's latest satiric bauble about a marriage on the rocks (Life Force, 1992, etc.). ``We're all Serbs and Croats and Bosnians at heart,'' says the pregnant Annette Horrocks, and then goes on to describe a news photo she saw of several young men sawing through someone's neck in the former Yugoslavia. The picture parallels her own life, Annette says--only her husband has ``been sawing through the inside of my head, not the outside, that's all.'' Indeed, Spicer Horrocks has been--although he sees the changes he's making in his life as positive and necessary. He and Annette have been married for ten years when she starts noticing strange signs--he takes up astrology, pores over a book entitled Cutting Free from Hurtful Ties, won't let Annette speak during sex, and castigates her for everything. She tries to talk it out, with Spicer turning it all back on her; indulges him by going into therapy, only to be sexually assaulted by the shrink of Spicer's choice; and smiles and accepts the blame (she calls this doing a ``Tweetie-pie''). Her best friend, Gilda, suspects that Spicer's jealous because Annette's about to publish her first novel. But Spicer's Jungian analyst, Dr. Rhea Marks, has another explanation: ``Spicer is leaving you, Mrs. Horrocks, and the material world.'' Meanwhile, Spicer avoids putting the house in Annette's name and stashes away cash--to ease his passing to another plane? It takes an excruciatingly long time for Annette to stop letting herself be victimized...but she does. This begins with all the wicked froth we've come to expect from the author of The Live and Loves of a She-Devil (1984), then crashes into a wall of pessimism about relations between the sexes- -making it one of Weldon's bitterest efforts so far. She usually distributes her satire more evenhandedly; here, husbands and therapists get coated with it, while the wife comes out clean. Not Weldon's best, then, but bracing stuff nonetheless.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84148-X
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993


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