``What is this thing called love,'' asks Weldon's latest flaky/wise heroine in the first sentence of this idiosyncratic exploration of economics, politics and spirituality in the Western world. Eleanor Darcy, a national figure whose economist husband was recently jailed for misuse of public funds, is being interviewed by Hugo Vansitart and Valerie Jones, two journalists who have fallen in love, precipitously, upon the eve of their respective assignments. ``In Darcy's Utopia. . . '' Eleanor declares continually as she describes for each writer her--or her husband's--vision of a world uncomplicated by either rules, monetary systems or families. Born to a teenager (whose mother eventually married Eleanor's father) and originally named Apricot, becoming Ellen when she wed her first husband, Eleanor has embraced Roman Catholicism and Marxism before grabbing onto utopianism. Meanwhile, Valerie and Hugo, living in a Holiday Inn, cope with the families they have left in response to their shared passion, which Weldon slyly suggests may have originated with the Devil. Although amorphous and inconclusive, the latest satire from the author of The Cloning of Joanna May is ambitious, provocative and unremittingly entertaining. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991 Release date: 03/01/1991 Genre: Fiction
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