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Boston Globe: "Canny and clever."

Date: Oct 10 2010

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Reviewed by Barbara Fisher for The Boston Globe


The place is England. The time is the near future. The National Unity Government is in power. The Shock of 2008, followed by the Crunch of 2009- 2011, then the brief Recovery of 2012, resulted in the economic meltdown of the present. The Great Hunger abated with the introduction of the new food staple, National Meat Loaf — made from human protein. “After the Great Immigration, when so many in the health services went home to practice medicine in their own countries,” only the young, wealthy, and fertile receive medical care. CiviCams and Neighborhood Watch patrol the streets. Unemployment is at 60 percent, allowing people to stay at home to look after and teach children.

 

Eighty-year-old grandmother Frances Weldon, imaginary sister of novelist Fay Weldon and herself a former icon of the feminist movement, is drawn into the plot of an extremist terrorist gang who happen to be her family. She is no feeble granny, but an acid-smart, carping contrarian. She narrates her own complicated past — sister, husbands, lovers, children, grandchildren, wealth, fame — and confronts her dire present with the same sharp critical tone, and it is this voice that accounts for the satiric bite and wicked wit of this canny and clever novel.