Men have deserted women often, and perhaps Natalie Harris, whose husband ran off with the local carnival queen, should not have been surprised. But there she was - charming, well-meaning, and well-dressed - suddenly without gas to drive her children to school or money to pay their tuition.
True. Natalie had had a lover for a number of years, but they saw each other only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Still, she felt wronged and helpless when her husband left her; she was the kind of woman other men, attached to other women, liked to help - on their own terms, of course.
The Heart of the Country is about the decidedly unsentimental education of Natalie Harris. Without husband, without home, thrown on the mercy of bank managers and welfare officers, she depends for enlightenment upon long-suffering Sonia who has been abandoned before. But what can Sonia do in the face of Natalie's own nature and the procession of men only too ready to take advantage of her appealing vulnerability?
A cunning satirist, Fay Weldon tickles the myth of the suburban countryside as a place where serenity reigns and neighbors are kindhearted. But if the heart of the country is in upheaval, chaos can be exhilarating. And as Weldon exposes the foibles of the human spirit, she manages to celebrate its wonderful elasticity. Involuntary though it may be, Natalie Harris's education is not all to her disadvantage.
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