Jean Rhys

All posts tagged Jean Rhys

Voyage In The Dark – Jean Rhys

Published October 20, 2013 by bibliobeth

487580

What’s it all about?:

Autobiographically inspired, Rhys created stories of the slightly adrift every woman looking for an anchor in a cold, hostile landscape. Her heroine in Voyage in the Dark is Anna Morgan, a young woman in her late teens, relocated to England from her beloved home in the West Indies. She works as a chorus girl, traveling the country to dank boarding rooms and shabby theaters. Fortune seems to grab her one day in the shape of a wealthy, older man who sets her up in London, calling for her as his needs dictate. Anna falls in love with him, and allows herself to rely on him totally. When he grows tired of her, she begins a long spiraling decline. This is poignant, tense writing by the woman whom A. Alvarez called “the best living English novelist.”

What did I think?:

Before reading this novel, I was not very familiar with the work of Jean Rhys, although I was aware of her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, noted as the prequel to Jane Eyre, which focuses on Mr Rochester’s insane wife. Voyage in the Dark is one of her more popular and widely known works, and apparently also one of her most autobiographical. Our main character is a young woman called Anna Morgan who moves to England from the West Indies where she was brought up after the death of her father. Anna makes her living in the theatre at first, moving from one boarding house to another which were often in a pitiful condition due to her lack of funds. Then she meets a wealthy older man  – Walter, who takes her under his wing and provides for her. Due to her lack of experience and naivety she falls in love with him, and is crushed when he breaks off their relationship, declining mentally into a sort of madness, under a haze of depression.

I read the edition of this novel with an introduction to the author written by Carole Angier and found it intriguing to read about the life of Jean Rhys, and how many parallels this story shares with her own troubled life. At the time of writing this novel she had returned to England from France which she had sworn never to do, had made a second unhappy marriage, and was drinking heavily – allegedly she finished it on “two bottles of wine per day.” I did enjoy the writing style, and the unique way of telling the story from Anna’s point of view, where some parts were like a stream of consciousness, where the reader got to experience all sensations, memories, and emotions, both past and present according to Anna. As a character, she was interesting, and incredibly naive particularly when it came to men, and I’m afraid at some times I found her quite self-pitying, when she would do nothing but sleep and drink. In this way, the novel was very bleak but at times also quite poignant, when Anna would imagine happier times in her life in the West Indies. I don’t really want to say too much about the ending but you probably wouldn’t expect it to be happy would you?

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

WWW Wednesday #20

Published October 16, 2013 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

It’s that time again… WWW Wednesday. Thanks as ever to MizB at Should Be Reading for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?

487580

This book is part of the British Empire Challenge 2013 that I’m participating in as part of a bookclub, Bright Young Things. It’s started promisingly so far!

What did you recently finish reading?

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I finished this book within a day, it was such an easy read. I had a couple of niggles about it, and my review will be up shortly!

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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I’m looking forward to this one – it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, and is part of the Waterstones Eleven debut authors which I am also following this year.

What are you reading? Please feel free to leave your link and I’ll come and have a look! Happy Reading Everyone!