Eleanor Darcy, a woman of marginal genealogy and looks that play better than they should, is married to the economist to whom the Prime Minister listens. Determined to rip apart the old order and start fresh, Eleanor becomes the serpent - or angel - who whispers utopian visions in Julian Darcy's ear. With the husband in jail for imperiling the financial structure of the nation, Eleanor grants exclusive interviews to two journalists, Hugo Vansitart and Valerie Jones. Though they seem more preoccupied with each other than with their elusive subject, their goal is the same: to capture the essence of Eleanor Darcy. Hugo is looking for truth and pragmatism in Eleanor's vision: Valerie is in quest of the woman's struggle.
From their diverse portraits, Eleanor Darcy emerges, and so does her remarkable vision - complete with shockingly sensible ideas about child-rearing, abortion, education, integration, fundamentalism, economics - and, of course, a new twist on that old story of the sexes. Fay Weldon has once again skewered the conventions of modern society with wit and wisdom, shining her flashlight on the threadbare morals of modern life.