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The Life and Loves of a She-devil (Coronet Books) [Paperback]

Fay Weldon
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 1986 Coronet Books
A black comedy of manners which treats the pursuit of revenge in a satirical and amusing way. It is the ultimate fantasy of the wronged woman. It has been made into a film and stars Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet Books; New edition edition (1 Oct 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340363797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340363799
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,174,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A tour de force: a macabre, fast-moving moral fable' (The Times)

'More audacious and striking in design than anything that has gone before . . . carried out with such dash and glitter' (Times Literary Supplement)

'Rousing . . . The fun grows steadily blacker and wilder' (Guardian)

'A savage, sadistic even, but beautifully and compellingly written satire' (Sunday Express) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A new edition of the bestselling classic tale of a woman scorned, from a much-loved British author.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all-time favourite book 13 Dec 2004
By qangela
This is a powerful story, simply told.
I'd go as far as to say that the story borders on the mythological. Fay Weldon's use of sparse and simple prose in the telling of it strengthens the story even further.
Fay Weldon has an understanding of human nature which transcends the boundaries of social nicety and political correctness at the best of times, but she improves on her usual excellence here. This book presents the light and shadow of men and women in all their forms - there are no "good-guys" or "bad-guys" here. She shows how good can spring from bad and bad from good... a dangerous idea? Read it and see what you think.
I've read this book at least a dozen times over the years and I've learned something new about life, and myself, every time. It's frightening, uplifting and ultimately liberating. I can't recommend it more highly.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern day fairytale 16 Aug 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
Fay Weldon's novel is masterfully envisioned in the audio adaptation. This success is in the main due to a skillful and powerful reading by Patricia Hodge.
Hodge brings to life this tale of Ruth, an unattrative housewife who seeks revenge on both her husband and the new object of his affection, the successful romance novelist Mary Fisher.
The novel plays upon the transformation of the two female characters as Ruth molds herself into a she devil, a tool with which to reek her fury upon the world, and as a result Mary's world crumbles about her, the fairy castle becoming tarnished and unlovely.
At times harrowing, Weldon's work portrays the desperate plight of the unwanted and the undesirable, and the satisfaction of destruction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A devilish read 10 Feb 2009
Format:Audio Cassette
This has to be one of the funniest, most astute novels ever written. A woman scorned is on the warpath and take heed: her wrath will make you laugh for years because she's right. Why on earth should women feel guilty when their husbands shack up with other women? Why not embezzle and destroy the material they wouldn't have given their abandoned wives anyway! It is well worth reading...
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By WormKez
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story is told by the main character’s point of view; a woman and wife called ’Ruth’, who as been wronged and betrayed by love and goes on her own liberating and justifying path seeking revenge. However, in doing so she must cross over to a darker side of human nature: The She Devil.

This book is psychological, raw, hard-edged, ironic and cynical. It is a skilfully written moral fable telling a candid story from the wounded woman’s perceptions on life and other people.

I had been waiting forever for a book to come out where the victim could get back at all the selfish, cold-hearted, small-minded and petulant people who have ever affronted them in their lives; and here it is! I doubt any genuine and wronged person would not like this book.

This is generally a woman’s book specifically for those who have ever encountered nasty characters in their life or relationships. It’s very uplifting for anyone who’s ever fantasised about vengeance. While Ruth patiently plots the enviable downfall of both her husband and lover, she is also sealing her own moral demise. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually get away with inflicting that kind of plotting, power and vengeance over those who have emotionally hurt us!

The She-Devil eventually and cleverly strikes back at cold-hearted and manipulative people by taking way the things that would hurt them the most - money, material- wealth, sex and freedom.

In the end I think Ruth finally teaches Mary Fisher about the meaning of Love. Nevertheless, by then it is too late, the damage was already done, not only to herself, by becoming the She-Devil, but also through the punishment she inflicts upon the ‘newly awakened’ Mary for taking her husband with no conscience or remorse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blast from the Past 23 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Watched the series on television years ago but had never read the book. A bit bizarre but easy to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caustic 6 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Intelligent and biting tale of revenge. Expertly written. There are no redeeming characters. All are seriously flawed or at best irritating. Compelling, page turning and deliciously dark.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read 25 Jan 2011
By kt1982
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is intense in parts but is extremely enjoyable. Weldon is a wonderful writer and offers her reader much food for thought. I read this for a feminism module I studied at uni and it was one of my favourite texts. The TV adaptation lost the way totally, but the book is fantastic, I'd definitely recommend it, although parts did make me feel a tad queasy!
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excelllent prompt service. Recommend. Daughter loved this old classic and has passed it round her friends.
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