Sunday, May 14, 2017

Death of a She Devil by Fay Weldon

When Fay Weldon introduced Ruth Patchett in The Life and Loves of a She Devil, 34 years ago, she created one of literature’s greatest monsters. Deserted by callous husband Bobbo for the simpering romance novelist Mary Fisher, ugly doormat Ruth remakes herself as the She Devil and has her revenge on the adulterers. Her punisher’s progress takes her through every circle of society, from underclass to judiciary, from family to clergy, until finally she is surgically transformed into “an impossible male fantasy made flesh” – even losing six inches of leg to become desirably petite. At the close of the book, with Bobbo broken and Mary dead, Ruth’s triumph is complete.

In Death of a She Devil, Bobbo is in effect Ruth’s prisoner, ancient and confined to bed, from where he rants his misogyny and sexually assaults his nurse. Meanwhile, Mary haunts the lighthouse, indulging in some light poltergeist activities and narrating the political machinations within the institute. An ambitious young woman named Valerie Valeria has plans to replace the She Devil, and Ruth’s freakishly beautiful grandson Tyler seems like the perfect vehicle for her schemes.

read more here @ the Guardian

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