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She May Not Leave by Fay Weldon
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She May Not Leave

by Fay Weldon

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I know other readers disliked the book for it's unlikeable characters but I rather found Hatty, Martyn, and 'Agnes' realistic. I know couples like them, and au pairs like Agnieszka, and even though I suspected some of the plot twists, the final conclusion had me shocked and a little shaken (in a good way!). The device of the great-grandmother as narrator is lovely, as she provides some parallels to the main triad, ruminations on the nature of relationships, parenthood, and partnership. A very...more I know other readers disliked the book for it's unlikeable characters but I rather found Hatty, Martyn, and 'Agnes' realistic. I know couples like them, and au pairs like Agnieszka, and even though I suspected some of the plot twists, the final conclusion had me shocked and a little shaken (in a good way!). The device of the great-grandmother as narrator is lovely, as she provides some parallels to the main triad, ruminations on the nature of relationships, parenthood, and partnership. A very dark, twisted novel! ( )
  unabridgedchick | Aug 12, 2016 |
A bit too predictable, but nevertheless entertaining. I generally like Weldon. ( )
  Moem | Mar 11, 2014 |
Fay Weldon's novels have a very subversive quality to them. I read this with a great deal of enjoyment and without any clue as to where she was taking me. The ending did not disappoint. ( )
  janglen | Oct 30, 2011 |
Not enjoyable at all for me. I didn't like any of the characters. ( )
  Suso711 | Mar 20, 2010 |
A thirtyish London couple, partnered but not married, have a baby and hire a Polish au pair, who may or may not be what she seems.
What's distinctive about this novel is its unusual style and set-up. It's narrated by the young woman's (Hattie) seemingly omniscient grandmother (who gets her intimate information from Hattie and a few others), who uses the young couple's story as a platform for her own ruminations on motherhood and marriage and to tell us her own experiences and those of her sister, a famous writer, both of whom have been both lucky and unlucky in love. Also, the novel is set out in individual, set-apart paragraphs, some of which could be a short, short story full of insight in itself. A clever book, really. Nice prose. For example,

Hattie is wise, all the same, to have done the choosing. When the man hires female help another element becomes involved. She is the slave he brings back from battle: she is the booty of war and her body is his by right. As it is Agnieszka becomes Hattie's maidservant, and her loyalty is to the one she first set eyes on, in this case the female mistress, not the male conqueror. Hattie abhors biologism - indeed, both she and Martyn laugh heartily at the absurdities published in the name of science in Devolution's sister magazine Evolution - and I don't put any of this to her. She would scoff.

I liked the book, but it took me a long time to read because others always seemed more compelling. It's worth reading. Really, quite clever. ( )
2 vote citygirl | Dec 20, 2009 |
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"Agnieszka?" asks Marilyn.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802143016, Paperback)

Fay Weldon lets her incisive wit loose on a hot issue facing many modern families — child care, and what can happen when that involves having a nanny under your roof. Hattie and Martyn are the proud parents of newborn Kitty; both are in their early thirties, smart, handsome, and, for reasons of liberal principle, not married but partnered. All seems fine at first — healthy baby, happy couple — but when they have to decide who’ll look after little Kitty, things get complicated. Hattie’s dying to get back to work but Martyn fears employing foreign help might hurt his leftist political aspirations. Martyn capitulates when Agnieska arrives — a Polish nanny who happens to be both domestic goddess and first-rate belly dancer, the maker of a mean cup of cocoa who’s also educated in early childhood development. Having her in the house makes life livable again for the young couple, so when problems arise with her immigration papers Martyn and Hattie will do anything to keep her in the country. But will their decision to have Martyn marry her be the trouble-free solution they envision.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Hattie and Martyn are a decent, hard-working couple who have recently been blessed with a new baby. Deciding that it would be smart to hire a nanny, they employ Agnieszka, and for a while she delivers domestic bliss. But as Martyn and Agnieszka grow closer, Heather's life soon begins to fall apart.… (more)

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