Fay Weldon Short Fiction Analysis
Fay Weldon could be called the contemporary Jane Austen, an entertaining, satiric chronicler of today’s rude manners centered around sex and self. As befits an admirer of Jane Austen, Weldon focuses on the matings of women and men, almost always from the women’s point of view. In keeping with the contemporary world, the matings are often shallow, insecure, and unhappy. Awful events occur in Weldon’s short fiction: seductive women break up marriages, pregnant women are abandoned, babies are abused, and ghosts rattle through old houses. Yet, for the most part, Weldon maintains a comic tone, though again her black comedy is consistent with the times.
Weldon is able to deal with awful events and still maintain a comic tone through manipulation of narrative technique and voice. She experiments with discontinuous and fragmented narration, making sudden leaps in her characters’ lives. To attain this out-of-breath pace, she sometimes sacrifices depth of characterization, especially of the male characters. What else is an author to do in an age of shallow people? The shallowness of her characters may be seen as another symptom of the times. Her narrative techniques also reflect her background in writing advertising copy—the transfer of sound bite technology to short fiction. Her stories would probably not be convincing enough to entertain if they were not also narrated in highly believable human voices, the colloquial, confused voices of single mothers,...
(The entire section is 1483 words.)
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