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Worst Fears de Fay Weldon
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Worst Fears (1996 original; edició 1999)

de Fay Weldon (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
233599,129 (3.22)1
A husband's sudden death reveals some unpleasant truths: "Fast-paced black comedy . . . compulsively readable." --Publishers Weekly When Worst Fears opens, Alexandra Ludd has been a widow for less than seventy hours, her husband, Ned, former theater critic and stay-at-home father to their young son, Sascha, having died of an apparent heart attack. Alexandra, beautiful, adored darling of the London stage, is too overcome with grief to realize she's been lied to: Ned didn't keel over in the dining room, as her good friends told her. He died in their marital bed--and he wasn't alone.   At first Alexandra's in denial, but when Ned's mistress starts stalking her, she must face the truth: The man she loved was unfaithful. To add insult to injury, it seems everyone knew about Ned and dumpy, middle-aged, married Jenny Linden. A scathing exposé of infidelity, Worst Fears is Fay Weldon at her most fiendishly funny and cutting.… (més)
Membre:wordsunwasted
Títol:Worst Fears
Autors:Fay Weldon (Autor)
Informació:Flamingo (1999), Edition: paperback / softback
Col·leccions:wordsunwasted, Wordsunwasted3, Wordsnwasted2
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Informació de l'obra

Worst Fears de Fay Weldon (1996)

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"...as is well known, women and birds are able to see without turning their heads, and that is indeed a necessary provision, for they are both surrounded by enemies." - James Stephens, The Demi-Gods.

This is a quote that Fay Weldon could easily take to heart. She is well acquainted with the problems women face in the world, and the contribution men make to those problems. But one of her distinctive themes is how women, too, shaft one another. The men in Worst Fears are, to varying degrees, self-serving, weak, small-minded, petulant and pompous. That, it is implied, can more or less be taken for granted. The female characters are far more advanced and artistic in their cunning, deceit and hypocrisy - with the exception of the central character and victim, Alexandra Ludd. The women in Worst Fears are unsparing in their judgments of one another, always ready to believe the worst and run with it, even when 'the worst' is merely that a woman is departing from stereotypic expectations.

Alexandra is an actress (actor, as she repeatedly corrects her friends), who has been living with husband Ned and their young boy in a costly period cottage in the English countryside. She is a rising star thanks to her current London performance in Ibsen's A Doll's House, but has to take leave upon Ned's sudden death by heart attack. Her female friends are evasive about the circumstances of the death, as though doing some acting of their own; and the details she pieces together from other people add to her disquiet. In the other Weldon books I have read there are several central female protagonists. In this case there is only one, so the evasiveness and deceptiveness of Alexandra's peers creates a mood of paranoia.

The main characters are her local friend Abbie; their crass, nouveau-riche acquaintance Vilna; Ned's brother Hamish, who comes down to help with practicalities; and Alexandra's nearest neighbour, Lucy Lint (Jenny Linden in some editions), who makes miniature props for the stage. There are also appearances by Alexandra's unkind mother Irene, the low-life nanny Theresa and the faintly sinister therapist Leah, a spiritualist with steel inside her velvet glove.

Alexandra tries to manage her shattering grief while dealing with the odd and perplexing events that follow. For example, she discovers Lucy pacing outside her hedge, keening to herself, claiming to have had a love affair with Ned. Alexandra, who is compared to Marilyn Monroe, at once discounts any challenge from the overweight, over-emotional Lucy... but why, then, did Lucy tell such a tale?

As events unfold the reader discovers a number of bad deeds perpetrated against Alexandra. But everyone around her comes down like a ton of bricks on Alexandra's own small, finicky failings (for example, her blindness to events surrounding her) while rationalising or sliding over the serious harm dealt to her by others. For her part, Alexandra never forgives her central rival, but otherwise she turns remarkably saintly, apportioning a great deal of the blame to herself for the dark turn of events.

I think this imbalance serves several purposes for the novel. First, it invites pity for the central character. We want to come to her defence, since no-one else will, and challenge the spurious moral charges laid against her. Secondly, Alexandra's acceptance of blame asserts the novel's key message of individualism - yes women face difficulties, but in solving them you're on your own dearie. Thirdly, the cunning way that people frame events to the disadvantage of Alexandra may bring a smile to middle class readers who deal with this sort of monkey business all day, as they negotiate their way across professional networks and up and down workplace hierarchies.

Ned had made a particular study of Ibsen's plays. The irony is that Ibsen was a fierce defender of women's rights, unlike Ned himself. The story itself is structured like an Ibsen play, with its carefully spaced revelations. ( )
  Notesmusings | May 24, 2013 |
Spritziges Lesevergnügen für jeder Mann: Dieses Buch ist ein toller Lesespaß und trägt eindeutig die Handschrift von Fay Weldon, denn so spitzzüngig kann nur sie schreiben. Obwohl ich sagen muß, daß mich die ersten Seiten sehr an das Buch "Die Teufelin" erinnert haben. Alexandra erlebt ein auf und ab der Gefühle und erfährt was wahre Freunde sind und endeckt das Wort "Freundschaft" neu. Doch Sie meistert jede Feindseligkeit auf ihre ganz besondere Art und Weise. Der von ihr so geliebte, verstorbene Ehemann verliert immer mehr an Glanz und entwickelt sich zu einem Menschen der ihr immer mehr fremd erscheint. Ihre heile Welt scheint Stück für Stück zusammen zu brechen. Doch am Ende gibt es ein wahres Feuerwerk und man kann sich beim lesen der letzten Seiten, eines leisen Lächelns nicht erwähren.
  r1hard | Nov 22, 2009 |
What might you fear following the unexpected death of your husband. That is exactly what Alexandra faces as her husband's death brings to light the facets of her husband's life she didn't know about. Quirky and funny (and sorry mom, some explicit language). A quick and pleasurable tale that somehow made my own life seem quite normal. I loved the audio version that brought all of those oh-so-British characters to life. ( )
  sharlene_w | Aug 26, 2009 |
Fun, light and entertaining while not insulting your intelligence. Sort of enlightened chick-lit. ( )
  chandraceta | May 3, 2009 |
Worst Fears is aptly named. In it, the worst fears of the protagonist, and presumably of the reader, are realized. What fears? That your spouse doesn’t love you, that your friends are trying to take advantage of you, that the psychologists are trying to destroy your mind, that everyone is deceiving you, that the world is laughing at you behind your back, that nothing is at it seems, and that whatever happens, it will work out against you. When the book opens, Alexandra’s husband, Nick, has just died. Alexandra suffers from what she feels is a great loss. But as the story unfolds, it is as if Nick has woven such a web of deceit around her that it was kept aloft only by his living presence. As soon as he dies, the fragile network starts to unravel.

If the end of tragedy is a catharsis of pity and fear, then end of this novel is a catharsis of rage. Alexandra starts out intelligent, smart, beautiful, successful, and unsuspecting. By the end, she is a raving, axe-wielding arson, flailing out ineffectually against an implacably malevolent society. I suppose that such a novel must be satisfying to some—else how could Ms. Weldon have a following? However, it was not in any way to my liking. In my limited reading experience, rage-against-the-world novels usually invoke some principle—consciously or not—that lends some kind of dignity to a hopeless fight and that transforms a mere victim into a martyr. But Alexandra’s struggle seems never to rise above the myopically personal. There may be an important message here about the different shapes taken by the oppression of women and that of men. Maybe. I’m keeping open on that issue. But as of now, it doesn’t speak to me.

I picked up this book with no knowledge of the author or of what to expect. The writing of the first twenty pages convinced me it was some popular genre fiction. The language was crass and superficial, deliberately rude, but not so often as to constitute a style. There was a death and a visit to the morgue. Was it a mystery? The narrator seemed obsessed with sexuality, physicality, or closeness. Was it romance? Friends and neighbors, as we got to know them, seemed odd and creepy. Was it a horror story? Halfway through, I became so perplexed about what genre it could possibly be, I finally looked it up online and found that she is labeled “feminist.” Hmm. I’m not sure that’s right. Is paranoia, expressed by a woman, “feminism”? In Weldon’s world, it’s not just the men who are schmucks. True, the center of evil is the once-adored husband. But base, manipulative, egocentrism drives every living creature in this novel, with the sole exception of Alexandra, who, alone is accused falsely of all those vices and is thereby plunged ever deeper into despair and hurt. ( )
  skippersan | Apr 22, 2008 |
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A husband's sudden death reveals some unpleasant truths: "Fast-paced black comedy . . . compulsively readable." --Publishers Weekly When Worst Fears opens, Alexandra Ludd has been a widow for less than seventy hours, her husband, Ned, former theater critic and stay-at-home father to their young son, Sascha, having died of an apparent heart attack. Alexandra, beautiful, adored darling of the London stage, is too overcome with grief to realize she's been lied to: Ned didn't keel over in the dining room, as her good friends told her. He died in their marital bed--and he wasn't alone.   At first Alexandra's in denial, but when Ned's mistress starts stalking her, she must face the truth: The man she loved was unfaithful. To add insult to injury, it seems everyone knew about Ned and dumpy, middle-aged, married Jenny Linden. A scathing exposé of infidelity, Worst Fears is Fay Weldon at her most fiendishly funny and cutting.

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