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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The book initially sold poorly—critics thought it well written, but too depressing—and after its publication Rhys spent a decade living in obscurity. In 1966 she made a sensational comeback with her masterpiece, Wide Sargasso Sea, written in difficult circumstances over a long period. I have that feeling all of the time if I go outside and walk around when I'm feeling self conscious.

With each revelation I dropped more and more of my feeble attempt to make her understand that things weren't so bad as all that. Amsterdam was enjoyable, but Enno kept talking about how much better life would be for them once they got to Paris. Her clothes were shabby, her shoes were worn out, she had circles under her eyes and her hair was straight and lanky.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? It transcends the loss of a singular lover; it's a forfeiture of an entire version of reality and the self. Una donna che invecchia persa tra squallide stanze d’albergo, brandelli di ricordi, echi di dolori, tentativi di cappellini, gli sguardi indifferenti, un vicino cattivo, dei russi improbabili, un probabile gigolò e troppi, troppi Pernod. After a philosophical discussion about the cruelty and difficulty of life, she agrees to meet one of them the next day. Deeps of suffering that can never be verbalized, only captured in words with disjointed fragments of the subjective realm, glimpses, and pale reflections of the unfathomable sadness.

The details are too tedious to go into here, but suffice it to say that this dimwitted tree-sloth of a souse is almost, but not quite, as much fun to hang around with as a tranquilized heifer. So actually, this is a novel of love honoured and relived in memory, warm compassion, and the reawakening of sensation amidst despair. Thankfully, Sasha remembered a man she once went out with who lived in Brussels, so she borrowed money from him (enduring an uncomfortable kiss from him as a result).

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. until the café closes and she makes her way back to a room – one room or another on one street or another – they’re all the same, that is, none of them are much, just a cheap room.

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