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She May Not Leave by Fay Weldon


She May Not Leave by Fay Weldon

A brilliant and caustic cautionary tale from one of Britain's best-loved and most controversial writers. Hattie and Martyn are a decent, hard-working, ecologically-minded young couple - partners with a new baby, bickering over whether they should get married or not and how to arrange their lives in a morally sustainable way. Hattie has given up work to look after baby Kitty, but she is, frankly, bored by domesticity. They meet Agnieszka, a Polish domestic paragon who's married to a bus driver back home and is sending money back to her old mother and sister. Morally responsible couple that they are, Martyn and Hattie take pity and invite her to live with them. Hattie eventually succumbs to temptation and asks Agnieszka to baby-sit, and soon she's back at full-time work. In fact life is pretty much as it was before the baby came along, except the house is cleaner and better organized, and she's galloping ahead in her career. Martyn is thrilled and wants a marriage ceremony but Hattie refuses: life is perfect as it is, thanks to the existence of Agnieszka, who is modest, docile, prepared to work for a pittance, and not even too pretty for comfort. And if she tells the occasional lie - the little sister turns out to be a child - and her social attitudes are atrocious, well, they can be overlooked. She'll learn our ways along with the English language. But soon, things begin to sour. Martyn and Agnieszka grow closer and it occurs to Hattie now that baby Kitty, given a choice, would choose Agnieszka over her. Her friends are warning her - but that's too vulgar for consideration. And their lives are by now hopelessly intertwined - it's too late. And so the downward spiral continues as visas, a marriage of convenience and even her own friends and family conspire to force Hattie out of her home and her partner's bed ...


`A witty, wicked, lethally elegant novel.
Daily Telegraph

`A new novel by Fay Weldon is always a reason to celebrate and this has all the ingredients that make her writing so addictive...Offering an enjoyably waspish commentary on the changing nature of childcare - and of women's expectations - since the 1960's, She May Not Leave is as funny and dark as anything that Weldon has written.
The Times

`Weldon is on top form in this latest novel, bringing to old dramas delicious new twists.
Daily Mail

`Weldon's style, that virtuoso of intelligence and insinuating garrulousness, achieves a kind of ideal equilibrium between therapy and gossip. It has all the irresistible allure of a really good bitch and the voluptuous resonance on a deeply self-indulgent bout of self-analysis.
Jane Shilling, The Times

`Gripping stuff ... Weldon is on fine form.

`Smart and fast-paced, the novel is an amusing cautionary tale with a twist.
Sunday Times

About the Author

Fay Weldon

Fay Weldon is one of Britain's best loved and most respected authors. Novelist, playwright and screenwriter Fay Weldon was born on 22 September 1931. She was brought up in New Zealand and returned to the United Kingdom when she was ten. She read Economics and Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and worked briefly for the Foreign Office in London, then as a journalist, before beginning a successful career as an advertising copywriter. She gave up her career in advertising, and began to write full-time. Her first novel, The Fat Woman's Joke, was published in 1967. Fay Weldon is a former member of both the Arts Council literary panel and the film and video panel of Greater London Arts. She was Chair of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1983, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews in 1990. She was awarded a CBE in 2001. She lives in Dorset with her husband, the poet Nick Fox.

Author photo © Alex Baker

Fellow novelist SOPHIE KING on FAY WELDON

Fay Weldon got me through my teenage years and my twenties. I don't know what I would have done without her naughty, feisty heroines. I normally prefer the close third person narrative but her authorial voice is so wicked that it has a delicious character in its own right.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th September 2006


Fay Weldon

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HarperPerennial an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


224 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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