Rhode Island Blues

Fay Weldon, Author Grove/Atlantic $24 (336p) ISBN 978-0-87113-775-3
Can true love be found at the age of 83? It comes to pass in Weldon's latest offering (Big Girls Don't Cry, etc.), a jaunty but somewhat jaded romantic caper set in a Rhode Island retirement home and in London's Soho district. Felicity Moore is an attractive, sexually active octogenarian grandmother who has decided to move into the Golden Bowl Complex for Creative Retirement, an ominous institution where the staff is motivated to keep the occupants alive via financial inducements. Felicity's granddaughter, Sophia King, is a 34-year-old British film editor who'd rather live in the imaginary world of film (where she can discard unpleasantness on the cutting-room floor) than face the reality of her mother's suicide, her own simultaneous loathing of and longing for progeny, and her apparent lack of family relations aside from Felicity. When Sophia comes to New England to help Felicity settle into the Golden Bowl, she learns that her grandmother had another daughter whom she gave up for adoption more than a half century earlier. While Sophia returns to London in search of her long-lost aunt, Felicity falls in love with a compulsive gambler and together they outsmart the evil and sadistic Nurse Dawn. Between live half-sisters, dead stepchildren and cousins lengthily removed, the reader feels in need of a diagrammed family tree. Weldon's signature caustic humor enlivens this somewhat overwritten story, which succeeds in establishing that the search for ancestry is fairly complicated and usually disappointing. Since this is Weldon's first novel set in America, canny marketing might add more stateside readers to her devoted fans (who won't miss Weldon's name emblazoned across the cover). Agent, Russell Galen, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 501 pages - 978-0-7540-1543-7
Hardcover - 494 pages - 978-0-7838-9343-3
Hardcover - 501 pages - 978-0-7540-2411-8
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