Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wide Sargasso Sea
Wide Sargasso Sea 

"You can pretend for a long time, but one day it all falls away and you are alone. We are alone in the most beautiful place in the world..." 

In this novel Jean Rhys presents a luminous evocation of the youth and marriage of Mr. Rochester's lunatic wife. How many of us had wondered when reading Jane Eyre, who was that woman in the attic, what had she done to deserve her incarceration, and why did no one try to help her? Written in a different age, here at last was a book that offered some kind of explanation, even for the fire Bertha starts at Thornfield Hall. Imagined as Antoinette Cosway, the girl undergoes painful permutations on her short journey from the West Indies to a small prison-like room in Great Britain. I enjoyed the portrayal of the native patois and the tightly written narrative of Ms. Rhys. It was an entertaining, if painful, read. I look forward to reading earlier novels by Rhys (Quartet and Good Morning, Midnight).

A Goodreads update

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