, Feb 1, 2009
- 329 pages
Fay Weldon is renowned for her biting humor and devilish prose. In her latest novel, The Spa, Weldon offers a glimpse of the despairs and dalliances of a set of high-powered women who have burned paths through--and sometimes been burned by--their worlds and the men in them. It is the week between Christmas and New Year's and ten high-achieving ladies are gathered at the expensive Castle Spa seeking to rejuvenate themselves with Botox, aromatherapy, and all-around pampering. They lounge in the Jacuzzi, sipping champagne, and telling each other the story of their lives, starting with the trophy wife's tale of her spell in a Greek prison; the brain surgeon's tale of twins and mistaken identity; the judge's tale of a sex change that allowed him to experience the pleasures of the bedroom from both male and female perspectives. The manicurist, the public speaker, the journalist, the company director, the ex-vicar's wife, and the screenwriter all share their stories, ending with the stepmother's tale, a reversal of Cinderella's fate, with the stepmother as the victim. Sparkling, witty, always sharp-tongued, and occasionally libidinous, The Spa is a darkly funny sketch of a group of women who, despite prejudice, imprisonment, domestic catastrophes, and romantic debacles, have risen to the top of their respective worlds.