Book Notes: Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea

I was fortunate to read this novel for the first time before the ubiquitous online reviews made it impossible to avoid knowing what it was before reading. If you never heard of it, then do yourself a favor and read without consulting blurbs and reviews. It will be a profound experience.

Even knowing what the novel is about, though, the second reading is still a punch in the gut. I read it in three glorious hours, and for the most part didn’t remember or care about that thing I don’t want to name to avoid spoiling the joy for potential new readers.

There are so many things to talk about in this short novel. The amazing journey literature made in a century. The genealogy of female writing, which is a topic I find deeply fascinating. Colonialism. The burden of history. Generational guilt. Racism.

It’s a short novel and an unforgettable ride. Do yourself a favor.

One thought on “Book Notes: Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea

  1. I was 16 (that was nearly 40 years ago…) when I came across this book and I remember being fulgurated by it. Thank goodness at that time I didn’t have even an inkling of the colonial/post-colonial blabber that would turn Jean Rhys’s masterpiece into one of its totemic sacred texts.
    I am quite sure she would have had nothing but contempt for the practitioners of so-called “Theory”.


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