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Worst Fears by [Weldon, Fay]
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Worst Fears Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 209 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

‘The literary equivalent of a stiff drink, a dip in the Atlantic in January, a pep talk by a midly sadistic coach. A snappy whodunnit of the heart.’
New York Times

‘It is unputdownable. I cannot remember a heroine tripping over quite so many banana skins in such a short space of time. Her every tumble is a delight. But it is a terrific read and, for those of a misanthropic bent, a primer in human callousness and perfidy.’
Sunday Telegraph

Synopsis

Alexandra is extremely happy. She is the per fect wife and mother with the perfect adoring husband, Ned. When Ned dies suddenly, Alexandra is very definitely not at his side, but who is? It appears that Ned has a secret prese nt as well as a secret past. '

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1726 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (1 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IHH2MQ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #276,090 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Fay Weldon is an excellent writer, and other reviewers have covered the plot well. The author does not allow us to be sentimental, and this means the characters, though they are recognisably human, also appear to be there as symbols, to carry the ideas she wishes to communicate. These seem to me to be that love requires trust, making the protagonist vulnerable to betrayal; and one of the great shocks of betrayal is the realisation that the people you normally expect to give you support have no longer any interest in you. In Fay Weldon's books, women do not crumble, as people under emotional pressure often do in real life, but find revenge. I think this is playing out the author's own wishful thinking, and I for one cheer for them; but I don't think we should take it all too literally.
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Format: Paperback
“Moving” is not the right word to describe this study of “worst case scenario”- it has been many years since I’ve read a book that make made blood boil in sympathy quite as much as WF does.
The novel starts off with the main character, Alexandra, in a bad position- her much loved and cherished husband, Ned, has died. Then, much like a who-dunnit, Alexandra pieces the puzzle of what kind of a man Ned really was. And this being a Fay Weldon the answer is simply- not a very nice one.
Of course the story isn’t as simple as that- once Alexandra hits one unpleasant surprise another one is just round the corner. At times the amount of horrendous things that happens to our heroine can seem very theatrically over exaggerated but this fits in very well with Alexandra’s occupation as an actor and Weldon’s ideas on relationships between men and women and women together.
After the first chapter, which seems very ordinary, the Weldon lets the novel zip along scattering a healthy layer amusing, vile and disagreeable (if sometimes slightly clichéd and unrealistic) characters until you are almost in pain for Alexandra. The character of Vilna, especially, seems a rich Eastern European female stereotype with her tastelessness and lack of tact.
This is more a book more likely to be appreciated by an intelligent female readership. Men may be quite insulted by Weldon’s frequent portrayal of them being the villains of the piece. Nevertheless, although WF is a real page-turner it still has its hidden agenda that keeps the book in your mind long after the last paragraph has been read.
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Format: Paperback
Fay Weldon's novel Worst Fears starts and finishes with bereavement. It examines how a woman deals with simultaneous loss and revealed betrayal. Alexandra is an actress, if I might be excused such gender specificity. She is also quite successful. She is currently appearing in a London West End production of Ibsen's A Doll's House. She is therefore away from home a lot.

Her husband Ned has just died, apparently discovered on the floor of the family home by a visitor. It was a sudden and massive heart attack. Alexandra wonders what might have brought it on. She takes time off work, thus allowing an understudy temporarily to take her role. She returns to the rickety, old, antique-stuffed cottage in the country. It is perhaps a rural idyll that now has to be rewritten.

Her worst fears are that there is more than meets the eye. She also has some hopes, but from the start it seems unlikely they will be realised. She is greeted by the dog, Diamond, who seems to know something is wrong. She contacts local acquaintances, Lucy and Abbie, whom she suspects know more than they are saying. Hamish, her husband's brother, comes to stay to help sort things out. Sascha, Alexandra and Ned's little boy is with Irene, Alexandra's mother. It happens often when Alexandra is away at work. Her husband Ned, as usual needed space at home to concentrate. He was, by the way, was an authority on theatre, a critic, an expert on Ibsen and also interested in costume design.

As Alexandra delves into recent events, she discovers a tangle of interests, relationships and liaisons. All of them have implications for her, despite the fact that she was often not directly involved. The protagonists relate directly to one another. They socialise, if that might be the right word. They interact. They act.
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Format: Paperback
The 'law of business' uttered by Anthony Chuzzlewit in Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, 'Do Other Men Or They'll Do You' should be the motto for this novel. Actress Alexandra is well and truly 'done over', after a marriage in which she's attempted to appear lovely and gracious at all times, when her husband Ned Ludd proves, after his sudden death from a heart attack, to have been a bigamist, a compulsive liar and a serial philanderer. Alexandra put her trust in Ned, and by doing so looks set to lose everything - her home, her job playing Nora in an acclaimed production of Ibsen's 'A Dolls' House', her savings and her self-respect. And that's not all - how exactly and why did Ned die? Why is his therapist so keen to treat Alexandra? And why are his ex-mistresses and wives popping up everywhere? Fortunately, Alexandra is a girl of spirit, and manages to keep buoyant as she fights her way out of her various dilemmas in a novel that teeters between farce and tragedy.

I have to confess I didn't enjoy this novel at all to begin with (the main theme - that you can't trust anyone, even a loved one - seemed to me bleak in the extreme). However, about half-way through, during one of Alexandra's tangled conversations with Ned's gushy therapist Leah, I found myself laughing - and I alternated between feeling very amused and rather dispirited throughout the rest of the book. Weldon has a shrewd observing eye and a good sense of the ridiculous, and pokes some good and witty fun at the theatre world and at self-help, while also showing how exciting working as an actress can be. Her heroine Alexandra has a good, witty repartee, and I liked her spirit.
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