**spoiler alert** One thing I can say about Fay Weldon is that she is a fire bug. After devouring the riotous satire The Life and Loves of a She Devil**spoiler alert** One thing I can say about Fay Weldon is that she is a fire bug. After devouring the riotous satire The Life and Loves of a She Devil, in which a woman frees herself from her unhappy broken marriage by burning down her home, we have another lady who burns down a ghost-filled house to free herself and her friends from the past. “Life Force” weaves together the lives of 4 upper-middle class women, liberal idealists who have drifted into the boredom of middle age. The women are friendly enemies tied together by the promiscuous and enormously endowed Leslie Beck; they have all shared him and been the targets of his passionate lovemaking.
The author of this “memoir,” Nora, is the mild-mannered wife of a milquetoast book editor. She spends her afternoons at a boring secretarial job in a realtor’s office (the market was bad in the 70s too) toiling over a memoir that bares her and her friend’s more adventurous past. Through Nora and an art gallery owner, Marion, Weldon is able to skewer society, the art world, and industrialists, and most especially the unnecessarily complex relationships between men and women. The book is also about creation: artwork, writing, babies, and the fictions we spin in our own lives.
One question remains, is it better to be a woman with a man in her life or to succeed on your own? Weldon supplies a spectrum to choose from. Of Leslie’s 2 prudish wives, the 1st is married for her connections and goes crazy when she discovers his infidelities, and the 2nd, a former mistress, is married out of convenience and dies early, ignorant of his continued infidelities. 2 of the women in the quartet hide Leslie’s children in plain sight from their clueless spouses, and a 3rd has been abandoned by her husband and lives the cloistered life of a "not quite widow". The last, Marion, the only self-made single lady in the group, had to sell her baby to get ahead in the world and might as well be called a spinster since she chose career over marriage. No one wins except the purchased love child, Marion and Leslie’s son, who has money, art and possibly the physical endowment of his father… And, men, apparently size does matter. I thought you might like to know....more
When I read the description for Cavlino’s collection of science fiction stories inspired by the origins of the universe, I was immediately intrigued.When I read the description for Cavlino’s collection of science fiction stories inspired by the origins of the universe, I was immediately intrigued. As a writer who often uses math and science as a basis for my fiction I love to see what others have already done. The author spins his brief tales over many millennia, but the scope of time is not overwhelming for the characters or the reader, nor is the breadth of the expanding universe it takes place in. Each piece is spun out of a scientific theory but with a whimsy that is both endearing and a bit precious. It is his adherence to the theory within the fictional construct that I found fascinating, and having read Hawking and Sagan I know Calvino has a lot of the right elements (quite literally). Many of the characters, including the narrator of the majority of the stories, are taken from formulas, and part of the fun is figuring out which. There is a playful inquisitiveness in each piece, and a love of women and their bewitching behinds, that make for entertaining reading. ...more
I was first introduced to the work of Daniel A. Olivas when I was the editor of OutsiderInk.com, and it was a treat to return to his fiction. The storI was first introduced to the work of Daniel A. Olivas when I was the editor of OutsiderInk.com, and it was a treat to return to his fiction. The story he published with me is the lead story, “Los Angeles, 1970,” a piece that deftly navigates the challenges faced by immigrants and their children and a boy’s confusion regarding a sexually manipulative priest. The story showcases Olivas’ talent for capturing a unique and often unheard perspective. There is a spectrum of characters in his stories: protective to overly proud fathers, determined daughters, lesbian lawyers, cocky weathermen, strong older women, as well as a hot and not always welcoming Los Angeles, which is a character appearing it each piece. The author serves up a slice of life with dexterity and dash of humor. Layered into his stories is a current of music: jazz, pop, rock, and Mexican standards. The book is solid throughout, but there are some standouts: The chilling reality-based “Summertime” about a white supremacist opening fire on a Jewish community center and “19” a humorous take on the Y2K debacle, but for me it is the “cautionary” tales that I enjoyed most, reminding us that life is short and we should be true to ourselves: “Res Judicata”, “Weatherman” and my personal favorite, “Voir Dire,” in which a man discovers his ability to write fiction and his parents still dismiss him as an idiot; a mixture of hope and humor! ...more