Clifford Wexford, the rising star of a Sotheby's-like international art-auction house, and Helen Lally, the daughter of an eccentric artist, fall in love at first sight in the '60s and make each other perfectly miserable for the next 20 years. Their passionate squabbles lead to the disappearance of their beautiful three-year-old daughter Nell, whose subsequent bizarre adventures involve her with the motley likes of senile French devil worshippers and kind British drug-dealers. With characteristic arch wit, the prolific author ( The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil) spins a supple, modern-day fairy tale, replete with heroes and heroines, evil-doers, fairy godmothers, castles and fateful coincidences. Characters undergo swift changes of heart and circumstance, and moral declamations abound (""Our children are to be loved and guarded, not used as pawns in some sad mating-game''). Weldon deftly sends up the art world, the idle rich, the male-female double standard, marriage, divorce and parenthood. A clever, confiding narrator (``People like Clifford and Helen love and create havoc in every decade, in every century, in every corner of the globe'') and symbolic characters figure in a polished, fast-paced, entertaining story that ends happily ever after but doesn't grip the reader. 50,000 first printing; $60,000 ad/promo; first serial to Boston Globe Sunday Magazine; BOMC dual main selection. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988 Release date: 03/01/1988 Genre:
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