Monday, 6 February 2012


Title: Cuckoo

Author: Wendy Perriam

Year of publication: 1981, Futura edition 1982

Back cover blurb: Frances is on a fertility drug and sizing up the milkman.  Charles is struggling between shocked disapproval and guilty desire for his own illegitimate daughter - a fifteen year old secret who arrives and takes over the nest.  Their sterile and rule-ridden marriage (where even sex requires timetable and rule-book) begins to fall apart.  In desperation, Frances flees to her feckless lover, Ned, and in trying to use him as a stud, finds she is used and abused herself.  By then, the cuckoos - and the cuckolds - are really coming home to roost!

Quick flick reveals: This second novel by oft-published author looks exactly like the sort of sexually exuberant British comic novel I like (and write, on occasion).  After all, how can you resist a story that begins: 'Typical of Charles to decant his sperm sample into a Fortnum and Mason's jar.  Empty of course, but it had contained gentleman's relish...'  It all seems enjoyably twisted, and I'm definitely going to give it a read. 

Random paragraph: 'A couple strolled by, the young bearded father pushing a pram.  Charles would never be a pram-pusher, but at least he could try to be a father.  He'd done it once, for God's sake.  But that was more than fifteen years ago, and with a Hungarian Earth Mother.  Perhaps his sperm was tired now, worn out after years of jet-lag and tax conundrums.  Or maybe she herself was too small, too cold, too old, and sperm only stirred themselves for hot Hungarian wombs.'

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