You know those pubs that have books in them, where you can take one from the shelf and leave one in its place, or just take one and bring it back later? That’s where this book came from. I’ve never done that before because such libraries mostly always seem to have been populated not by booklovers, but by publicans wanting to add something, or something, so I never saw anything of interest. However, last Monday I was in the pub, standing away, around a corner in order to avoid being blinded by a bb gun during a pub quiz that has a shooting round in it and found myself next to the pub’s library. I liked the cover:
As well as the name, and I remember reading a lot of Fay Weldon when in my early teens through either my mum or my older sister’s recommendation. Strangely though, I have no recollection of what I read, but I have a feeling I read them all, well apart from this one. However, it’s also very likely that I read none of them, or few, and am actually just getting Fay Weldon confused with Erica Jong, in the same way that when you become aware of two things at the same time they are always forever after tied in your head for no good reason. The same way that I still for some reason think of The Lighthouse Family and Ocean Colour Scene as the same band, neither of which I liked much, apart from that catchy one about catching the train.
Anyway, I really liked it, it reminded me a lot of Roald Dahl’s writing for adults: slightly, or greatly, sinister (you aren’t never quite sure which) and with grotesque (yet familiar) characters. I also liked the way that it felt almost dashed off, I don’t mean unthinkingly, or badly at all, more like someone was telling you a tale, a fairy tale in fact, as this is a theme within the book itself. That also isn’t to say it was stylishly and cleverly written because it was.
I will be haunting pub libraries more frequently from now on with less snobbery and also discovering, or rediscovering – that remains to be discovered – Fay Weldon.