With her eye for the unending power plays between the genders, Fay Weldon chronicles two decades in the lives of three generations of women—and has a devilish good time doing it
“Down among the women. What a place to be!” So begins Fay Weldon’s novel, opening onto 1950s London, where Wanda, a former radical who has left her husband, has raised her daughter Scarlet to be as tough and independent as she is. But twenty-year-old Scarlet has already had one abortion, and is about to become a single mother to the child she’ll call Byzantia. The novel also follows the lives of Scarlet’s friends: Sylvia, a born victim; respectable Jocelyn, hopelessly trapped in her dull, bourgeois existence; Audrey, who finally breaks out of her conventional life; and Helen, beautiful, vibrant, and doomed. Over the course of twenty years, they will discover it’s never too late to become the women they are meant to be.