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Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress who grew up in the West Indies on a decaying plantation. When she comes of age she is married off to an Englishman, and he takes her away from the only place she has known--a house with a garden where "the paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched."
The novel is Rhys's answer to Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë's book had long haunted her, mostly for the story it did not tell--that of the madwoman in the attic, Rochester's terrible secret. Antoinette is Rhys's imagining of that locked-up woman, who in the end burns up the house and herself. Wide Sargasso Sea follows her voyage into the dark, both from her point of view and Rochester's. It is a voyage charged with soul-destroying lust. "I watched her die many times," observes the new husband. "In my way, not in hers. In sunlight, in shadow, by moonlight, by candlelight. In the long afternoons when the house was empty."
Rhys struggled over the book, enduring rejections and revisions, wrestling to bring this ruined woman out of the ashes. The slim volume was finally published when she was 70 years old. The critical adulation that followed, she said, "has come too late." Jean Rhys died a few years later, but with Wide Sargasso Sea she left behind a great legacy, a work of strange, scary loveliness. There has not been a book like it before or since. Believe me, I've been searching. --Emily White --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Like all her writings, Wide Sargasso Sea is a beautiful, lush, haunting story.
It's not a terrible book, but really, there are such better things you can do with your time - like watch TV, or read just about anything else.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys is written as a prequel to Jane Eyre and tells the story of Bertha Mason, Mr Rochester's "mad" wife.
This book is for a college course I am doing. Love Jane Eyre's movies, and have seen different versions. This book was a surprise but I will keep for my personal library.Published 8 days ago by Karen
Was a strange book. But arrived promptly in good condition. Thank you.Published 1 month ago by Judy Hemp
Fine book, in an excellent Norton Critical Edition which provides a wide selection of the letters and essays of Jean Rhys, ed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John McLaughlin
Such a beautiful novel. Written in a dreamy style, this prequel to Jane Eyre is lyrical and compelling. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sidney H. Markus