Saturday, 4 November 2017

Book Review: Darcy's Utopia by Fay Weldon

A 90s book. So nineties, it's unbelievable...

Fay Weldon, Darcy's Utopia

Darcy's Utopia ended up on my '2017 clear-out pile' but was one of the more entertaining reads over the past six months. (This says a lot about my rather constrained, clear out-focussed reading list.)  

A full review will be coming up at some point, when I can be bothered to think of something to say about the book ... or find the time to write it down.

In the mean time, my initial verdict: Fay Weldon was actually not quite as annoying as some of the other authors, I had the misfortune of making acquaintances with recently. 

I'm looking at you: Milton Hartoum, and you, Elizabeth Kostova! (Kostova's epically long and equally disappointing 'The Historian' proved to be a tedious, hard slog and Milton Hartoum's 'Orphans of Eldorado' is taking way too long to finish, considering its length of a mere 164 pages.) That says a lot about Weldon's competition in my current reading pile.

Darcy's Utopia charts the ascent and decline of Weldon's heroine, Eleanor Darcy. For the most part, Darcy's story is relaid through a series of interviews she gives to two journalists,  Hugo Vansitart and Valerie Jones, who in turn hook up with one another for the duration of their research of Eleanor's life story, leaving children and partners behind to pursue a short-lived fling.

The book was released in 1991 and whilst I was not particularly smitten by the actual plot, I found this to be quite an entertaining glimpse into the United Kingdom's not so distant past.  Darcy's Utopia aspires to be a lot of things, part societal satire, part comedy, but it failed to  impress me in the end. 

Weldon's heroine starts life as Apricot, a child born out of wedlock on a council housing estate in post-War London with a slightly bewildering family background. Through a series of relationships, Apricot climbs the social ladder, finally becoming Mrs Eleanor Darcy, wife of a high profile economist and adviser to the prime minister.

As briefly mentioned already, I enjoyed this book mainly because of its accounts of society in post-War Britain from the 1950s onwards. I also enjoyed Weldon's writing style. Did I care about the characters or the story? Not really.
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