By Tina Jordan
Updated June 02, 2006 04:00 AM
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Long a chronicler of the war between the sexes, Fay Weldon takes on motherhood and child rearing in She May Not Leave. Over the objections of Martyn, her partner, Hattie hires a Polish au pair for their daughter so she can go back to work. Agnieszka’s arrival transforms their lives: The baby is happy; the house sparkles. Martyn, once so adamant that Hattie should remain home, can’t imagine life without a servant (it doesn’t hurt that Agnieszka takes belly-dancing lessons). And when Agnieszka is in danger of deportation, the couple decides Martyn should marry her to give her legal status. Weldon’s trademark acid wit is very much in evidence here, especially on the final pages, which she embellishes with a delicious fillip.