The story of Fay's might-have-been younger sister, an unreliable memoir and a wickedly sharp portrait of a once and future Britain.
It's 2013 and eighty-year-old Frances is listening to the debt collectors pounding on the front door of No. 3, Chalcot Crescent. While she waits for the bailiffs to give up and leave, Frances writes. She writes about the boyfriends she borrowed and the husband she stole from Fay. She writes about the Shock, the Crunch, the Crisis and the Bite, about NUG the National Unity Government, about ration books and National Meat Loaf (suitable for vegetarians). She writes about family secrets.
The problem is that fact and fiction are blurring in Frances's mind. Are faceless assassins trying to kill her young daughter? Are her grandchildren really plotting a terrorist coup upstairs? What on earth can NUG have against vegetarians?
And just what makes National Meat Loaf so tasty?
About the Author
Fay Weldon was brought up in New Zealand. Currently Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, Fay is best known for her novels, Praxis, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and Worst Fears. In 2001 she was awarded a CBE. She has eight children and step children and lives on a hilltop in Dorset.
Weldon (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) invents a life in an easily imagined near future for her younger sister who did not survive birth—her story here closely resembles Weldon's own. At 80, once-popular novelist Frances Prideaux is trapped on the main floor of her London house with failing knees, while her nephew and nieces plot revolution on her upper floors through their participation in Redpeace, a splinter group of Greenpeace. Looking back over her own history, Frances name-drops her famous literary friends, remembers past lovers, and grapples with whom she can trust in the new world order. This is an England of scarcity—food, water, and power shortages necessitate a Big Brother-style National Unity Government (NUG) to monitor the use of precious resources through tightly regulated water rationing, communal gardens, and the widespread distribution of a NUG-sanctioned meatloaf. VERDICT What Margaret Atwood did for the future of reproduction, Weldon plausibly does here for food production. A rollicking story that may inspire readers to greener habits before the apocalypse.—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.
"* 'Really rather bonkers. Exceptionally good, but bonkers' - Daily Telegraph * 'This potent brew of social comment, dystopian satire, vicious comedy and vintage Weldon wisdom is a marvellous ride' - The Times * 'Sinister, clever, funny and vintage Weldon. Why hasn't she been made a Dame?' - Independent * 'Weldon back to her best - an apocalypse-very-soon-from-now delivered with her trademark warm-hearted cynicism and bone-dry wit' - Daily Mail * 'Sparkles with wit and acute observation... a clever jeu d'esprit' - Guardian * 'Reads like a first novel... it's so fresh and vibrant and funny. The funniest dystopian novel I've ever read. And I don't think it's going to date' - Boyd Hilton"
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st August 2010
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.262