Polaris and Other Stories

Fay Weldon, Author Penguin Books $8.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-14-009747-4
British novelist Weldon ( The Hearts and Lives of Men ) here continues her monologues on the oppression of Woman; even when her characters converse, there is little or no interaction. ``It's the women's movement that's done it. All those assertive women going about!'' one female character tells another, explaining male impotence. And her interlocutor replies that she also is not assertive, but ``a traditional woman.'' This work, ``Christmas Lists--A Seasonal Story,'' and several others, including the title piece, portray the downfall of such earnest, old-fashioned women with compassion and perspicacity. Other tales, such as ``And Then Turn out the Light,'' begin with a particular conceit (``In Newcastle, New South Wales, they have the highest hysterectomy rate in the entire world'') that quickly becomes strained. For Weldon, the ``Great War'' is not WW I, but occurred ``in the fifties, when women were at war with women.'' Despite some excellent writing, these variations on a theme lose their luster as Weldon's typically arch humor wears thin with repetition. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!