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Splitting
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While failed relationships easily lend themselves to a variety of obvious metaphors of breaking and splintering, novelist and social commentator Weldon (Life Force, Audio Reviews, LJ 2/15/95) extends the splitting analogy by dividing her major character into three distinctly different personalities. Each persona provides her own special reaction to the trauma and inevitability of the doomed marriage, in concert and at odds with the others: the eccentric Angelica, the socially proper Lady Rice, and the introverted and resourceful Jelly White. Always satiric, Weldon's story sometimes suffers from the same difficulties as her character(s)‘too easily split. The parts, while entertainingly developed, don't always successfully create a whole we truly care about. Jenny Sterlin gamely meets the challenge of the narration, but the reading itself might not be for the inexperienced audiobook listener.‘Joyce Kressel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.

Divorce is one kind of split; adding an alternate personality is another. Angelica Rice experiences both sorts in this highly improper sendup of proper English society as Weldon (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) inventively tweaks stereotypical doting wives, vengeful-goddess types, efficient office workers, saucy sexpots and‘per usual‘men, by giving Angelica distinct personalities corresponding to each. As a young woman, Angelica isn't entirely neurotic; after a career as a 17-year-old pop star (of ``Kinky Virgin'' song fame), she weds country gentleman Sir Edwin Rice. Although her well-bred neighbors conduct unseemly affairs in classic comedy-of-manners fashion, Angelica remains loyal to Sir Edwin and styles herself as the prim ``Lady Rice.'' But when, in her 30s, her 16-year marriage founders, Lady Rice experiences the reemergence of her earthy ``Angelica'' self, as well as the arrival of the pragmatic ``Jelly White.'' Lady Rice is perfectly appalled when a lusty fourth identity seduces her chauffeur, and then a fifth self‘a tough guy named ``Ajax''‘threatens to thrash Sir Edwin. Angelica, we learn, is not so much split as ``perforated''‘her personalities can cooperate with or challenge each other's actions. Meanwhile, Weldon again proves herself one of a kind, a smart satirist whose playful exploration of psychology reveals society's fault lines and fractures. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour; rights: Ed Victor Ltd. (June)

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