Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

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I didn't love it when I was reading it, maybe because I found parts of it a bit close to the bone, but I now find that I want to read more Rhys. A disaffected, thirty-something woman, after being abandoned by her husband, goes to Paris and almost sleeps with a gigolo. It’s like learning all about girls from that disreputable uncle who used to keep back issues of Penthouse lying out in plain view and who spoke vaguely yet appealingly about Zen Buddhism. Sasha is the woman who has had her heart broken; she is the woman who loved and lost: she is the loner. The book initially sold poorly—critics thought it well written, but too depressing—and after its publication Rhys spent a decade living in obscurity.

Naipaul wrote in 1973 that it is "the most subtle and complete of [Rhys'] novels, and the most humane". Despite her efforts to avoid places she used to visit, Sasha goes to a restaurant that she and Enno used to like.He takes the money and promises to relay it to Serge, but he also makes it clear that he’s jealous because Sasha liked Serge so much. She suspects that he’s a sex worker who has mistaken her for a rich and gullible woman—someone he could entice into giving him lots of money. When the time comes, however, yet another bad experience in a restaurant—in which she hears somebody speaking disparagingly about her—ruins her mood, so she decides not to meet the Russian. I am empty of everything but the thin, frail trunks of the trees and the thin, frail ghosts in my room. In first person narration Sasha brings her world to life, gives us the skinny on why things are in fact as bad as they seem.

Out of the frying pan and into the cold ashes left over in the place where you wish there was a fire. I’ve always thought that must be exhausting, to be a woman and be expected to give every sleazy Tom, Dick and Harry your attention merely because they want it, to be forced to give it even in telling them to fuck off. Miller, after leaving his wife, seeks refuge in Paris through prostitutes and self-importance, while Sasha, left by her husband, immerses herself in the suffocating embrace of despair. But she can’t help delving into the past when she walks by familiar streets and restaurants, which remind her of the many things she used to do in Paris with her lover, Enno. In an interview shortly before her death she questioned whether any novelist, not least herself, could ever be happy for any length of time.Rhys’ intimate meditations on the “improbable truths” and hypocrisies of life bring about sharp observations on the dynamics among classes and the correlation between physical spaces and social decline towards the complete annulation of the self. Mackenzie (1931) and Voyage in the Dark (1934), it is experimental in design and deals with a woman's feelings of vulnerability, depression, loneliness and desperation during the years between the two World Wars. The book is devastatingly sad at times but there are moment of comic genius that I can’t be sure were intentional or not. he has a job she teaches English makes a few sous but then things change the money stops coming in and as usual it turns out that forever lasts only so long, then it’s over.

Jean, drunk for years, totally out of touch with literary London, almost – but not quite – forgotten. My feeling is you could argue all of these points depending on your analytic sensibilities and also you view of women and, obviously, feminism in particular. Could be that shady guy on the other side and that shady guy is am I doing what everyone else on the street is doing?She invited me to meet her friends, and I did, only I turned up with a bottle of whisky, of which I had already drunk three quarters. René wrestles her onto the bed and says he’s going to hurt her, but she keeps her knees pressed firmly together. Sasha’s angry that he was in her room, since she’s worried what other people in the hotel will think about their relationship. There is style too, which I would compare to Louis-Ferdinand Celine, a man who also wrote caustic, near-plotless monologues, rife with ellipses…although Rhys’ ellipses suggest broken trains of thought, confusion, sluggishness, rather than, as with Death on Credit, recklessness, tension, and breakneck speed. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report.

For reasons both elusive and indefinite, these women are drawn to lovers who possess the capacity to crush their very souls.

You were mistrustful of people from the beginning, but you went along with it," and Sasha would go on a little longer, dancing around the topic and then she would throw a punch that landed right between my eyes and I would concede, "Oh, oh. It transcends the loss of a singular lover; it's a forfeiture of an entire version of reality and the self. Told with a spare prose style, this reads as a work of psychological fiction, but redeems Jean Rhys' own consciousness throughout. Even friends or at least acquaintances in London, joking at her, asking why she doesn’t drown herself in the Seine … ah so funny, just what she needs to hear. I'm glad I read this first, and didn't start with Wide Sargasso Sea, undoubtedly her most well-known and possibly most popular novel.

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