Thursday 23 April 2015

Fay Weldon is a dose. I read her novels when I was thirty-something and ready for someone else's template: none of your literature, more of a nosedive into worlds I had somehow avoided, yet not. Praxis (bold as love). Puffball. Female Friends. I have eight novels by Fay Weldon, along with exemplars by Erica Jong, Fran Lebowitz, Lisa Alther, Marilyn French, plus The Female Eunuch and Our Bodies Ourselves, part of the motley on the bedroom bookshelves that includes William books, PG Wodehouse, Dornford Yates and a small irish section representing my attempt to get to know the country I moved to: Teach yourself irish, The Tailor and Ansty, Frank O'Connor.

From among these women, those antiquities and these irish, my dream channel is nourished. Every time I translate any of it into everyday life I have a feeling of perfidy. On the bedroom bookshelves books are more insistently historical than anywhere else, more insistently books.

In Ireland in the early nineteen-seventies women had to leave civil service jobs when they married. Feminist writers looked more obvious a choice than ever before, easier in a new country, and a boost I might need as well as a test of nascent teaching skills. I could try out some female eunuch thinking on a farmer's wife, or the carpenter, a former priest, who came to put in an attic window. I only like to talk politics if it's a private performance.

Otherwise I'd rather work in the garden. Silent politics. Apart from the birds. Check the trees, the tadpoles. Plant a Himalayan lily in as much leaf mould as I can find. Re-read Fear of flying in the afternoon. The book seemed very eager this time, very earnest and rather bedraggled. Pond warblers and water boatmen whizzed straight through.

No comments :

Post a Comment