Fay Weldon paints bleak picture of future in novel

Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:45pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Author Fay Weldon sets her latest novel only four years in the future, but by then Britain's currency has collapsed, inflation has soared and the bailiffs are knocking on the door of London's middle class.

"Chalcot Crescent" is a bleak vision of what might happen if hopes of a global economic recovery turn out to be false.

The story opens with Frances, an 80-year-old writer and "one-time national treasure," cowering in her home as the debt collectors pound on her front door.

The fact that the book is named after a street in London's upmarket Primrose Hill, home to the rich and famous, underlines Weldon's belief that no one is likely to be spared.

"It seems to me a perfectly possible outcome within four years," said Weldon, a leading British author most commonly associated with the feminist movement.

"Unless we are very, very lucky, there will be a double dip, there will be inflation, there will be a collapse of the currency so you go back to bartering between nations," the 77-year-old told Reuters in an interview.

Even what she calls the "barrister classes" are already feeling the pinch in the real world.

"I think everybody has felt it and everybody is now in the recovery which is the false hope. Of course, I hope it's not the case, but for the sake of the writer you kind of want it to come true, I'm afraid."   Continued...