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September 27, 1989 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-27

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The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, September 27, 1989 - Page 9

Leader of the Band
by Fay Weldon
Viking Press $18.95/hardcover
Be kind to your women, respectful
of your wives; a man can't be ex-
pected to make any woman happy -
that's her own responsibilty - but
he might refrain from making her ac-
tually unhappy. So cries Fay Weldon.
And she has been crying it from the
pages of her novels since she first
picked up her pen.
Apparently in vain. If men have
been mistreating their women from
time immemorial, 20 years of femi-
nist invective is hardly going to
change much. Well, not in the overall
scheme of things. So with acerbic wit
and compelling charm she weaves
complicated tales of womens' lives.
And if these women accept their lot
and survive the final chapters, if not
happy and healthy, but with a certain
resignation, isn't this in the normal
run of things?
Well it is in the Weldon world or,
I should say, it almost invariably is, a

notable exception being The Lifes
and Loves of a She-Devil, which is
soon to be released as a feature
length film starring Meryl Streep and
Roseanne Barr. In this fantastic tale a
much-abused wife takes recourse in
medieval-type witchcraft and sorcery
to avenge the wrongs perpetrated
against her by an unimaginably cruel
husband.
In her latest novel, Leader of the

and her husband's career is
paramount. The world in which
Matthew Sorrenson, successful
lawyer and aspiring High Court
judge, twice married, twice divorced,
meets and marries the delectable
Starlady Sandra, discoverer of the
planet Athena, media personality,
and next in line to being the As-
tronomer Royal.
Sandra, having spent most of her

side out. And no one, least of all the
self-centered and capricious Sandra,
is spared the brutal honesty of her
pen.
She confronts the contradictions
and confusions of relations between
the sexes in a way that is engaging,
compelling and insolently funny, and
upturns the established sexual mores
of the respected middle classes with
a candor that they would find shock-
ing.
If Leader of The Band does not
present us with a significant depar-
ture from the style and subject matter
of Weldon's previous novels (which
it does not), it does present as with a
shockingly forceful yarn.
-Sharon Grimberg

e
-
,.

She confronts the contradictions and confusions of re-
lations between the sexes in a way that is engaging,
compelling and insolently funny, and upturns the
established sexual mores of the respected middle
classes with a candor that they would find shocking.

Band, Weldon returns once more to1
the world with which she is familiar.I
The world of London's white, pro-
fessional middle class. The world of1
cocktail parties in Dulwich and reno-1
vated Edwardian homes in recently
gentrified Islington. The world in1
which a wife is foremost a hostess

Hated Batman?
Loved Bernstein?
Leave your roommate alone -
Tell it to the world in
Daily Arts
Call 763-0379

life obssessing, worrying and trying
to escape the fact of her genes -- her
father was a Nazi war criminal and
her Mother was as mad as a march
hare - opens her narrative with her
unpremeditated flight from her hus-
band, the gutter press, her lover's
wife and Jude, the producer of San-
dra's Sky. In a fit of midsummer
madness, or so it seems to her emi-
nently professional friends, and in
the spirit of her indecorous grand-
mother, she takes up with a jazz mu-
sician and sets out in a Renault 12
van, with a motley crew of musicians
and hangers-on, for the summer sun
and the folk festivals in the South of
France.
With her characteristically caustic
humor and a keen sense of the ridicu-
lous, Weldon stitches together the
patchwork pieces of Sandra's life,
past and present, starting from the in-

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