Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys Reading Week

jeanrhysreadingweek-bannerHere it is at last! A week of reading and discussing the writing and life of Jean Rhys. I am curiously happy that I decided to join and very eager to read the thoughts of other participants.

I am still on holiday, but since this (apparently) does not mean that I don’t have to work I will have less time to dedicate to the event than I thought/planned.

That was one of the reasons why I started reading Wide Sargasso Sea ahead of the Rhys Reading Week. The other one was the fear that something (else) will come up which would not leave me time enough to write, which would consequently lead to not contributing my part.

I have read Voyage in the Dark, but I can’t recall when. Seems so long ago. What I can recall are darkness and dependency. I didn’t like that, I remember. I felt no urge to read anything else by Rhys. Then, at the university, when we discussed postcolonial literature and feminism her name was mentioned. Through The Madwoman in the Attic, I became aware of Wide Sargasso Sea, of the significance of the story it tells. It was the text that spoke to my interests – the rewriting of canon, giving the perspective of the Other.

Strange thing life is – all these years passed, other books were read… Why not Wide Sargasso Sea? It is difficult to tell. The experience with Voyage in the Dark (which just came at the wrong time, I am inclined to think) had nothing to do with it, I knew Wide Sargasso Sea was different. Was it because I already knew it, because I was so, indirectly familiar with it? Could be, in part… Also, there’s that tendency to leave great things for later. While this is reasonable in many circumstances, I cannot find any good argument in favor of this practice when it comes to books. Yet, I sometimes do practice it.

I finished Wide Sargasso Sea last night.

Today, I wish to get back on the first page again. And there’s no reason not to grant this wish.


5 thoughts on “Jean Rhys Reading Week

  1. Yes, absolutely no reason at all. :) It is indeed strange, that tendency to leave great things for later…. I am guilty of that too. Maybe it’s because we enjoy the pleasure of anticipation…. and knowing that pleasure that is deferred is usually intensified when it’s finally consummated. More like a case of deferred pleasure vs instant gratification, maybe? I think I am slowly moving towards the later camp, though. :p

    1. It might be the case of deferred pleasure, as you say. At least, in a part. There’s also fear – that, at the given moment, I won’t be up to it, or that it will actually prove not as good as I thought. And I want it to be good, and want it to be one of those that speak to me, those that need to be reread.
      Sometimes though, it’s just a matter of bad timing. During the weeks that are particularly demanding (work-wise), I cannot imagine reading Woolf, or Flaubert, for example. Their books don’t deserve a tired mind.

  2. The inkynRhys book I know is Wide Sargasso Sea. I found it puzzling in some sections but maybe need to,read it again at a slower pace. It was on a university syllabus so didn’t get much time to read it.

    1. Well, after reading it (twice in a row), I can only agree with you that parts of it are puzzling. It takes time to process, to think about the content, the connections, the allusions.. It’s a perfect example of a book that needs to be reread. I love it, not only for its richness, but for its imagery, for the style, for the painful story it tells. And I would definitely recommend reading it again.

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