According to a leading British critic, Fay Weldon’s new novel is “wickedly stylish . . . bursting with intelligence and fire.” This description will come as no surprise to readers who know the legendary English novelist as a writer of the beloved television series Upstairs Downstairs and author of the bestselling novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil. “Your writer,” states the author on the opening page, “in telling you this tale of murder, marriage, adultery, ghosts, redemption, and remorse takes you first to a comfortable house in North London . . . ” She then proves that she can brilliantly mix gothic themes (haunted houses) with conventional characters and lives (well, not too conventional). Kehua! is a warmly exuberant story of Maori spirits (imported from New Zealand, the author’s place of birth), female fugitives, and the writing of a novel (maybe this very novel). The chief delight of this generous and wonderfully humorous book is the running commentary of “your writer,” working on her computer downstairs and chatting with us about the strange and beguiling goings-on upstairs. And here the author invites the reader into the life of a writer: the romantic illusions, the sobering truths and the spirited triumphs, both within and outside of the novel.
A novelist, playwright and essayist, Fay Weldon is best known for her novels The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Praxis, and Worst Fears. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in 1990, and was awarded a CBE from the Queen in 2001. In 2006, Weldon was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University in West London. She lives in Dorset with her husband, the poet Nick Fox.