Saturday, April 20, 2019
A to Z: Letters to Dead Writers: Jean Rhys
This month I'm writing one post for each letter of the alphabet, all on the theme of "Letters to Dead Writers." You can see my theme reveal post here and learn more about the blogging challenge here.
Today's writer is Jean Rhys
I've only read one of your books, but it was a doozy! Wide Sargasso Sea was the first book of its ilk I ever read: a book that stands as its own work of art, but which draws inspiration from another.
I've become a fan of the entire genre: I call these stories backdoor stories, because they slip behind the scenes of another story and reinterpret them.
I already loved Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It still ranks among my favorite books.
But your book turned that book on its ear, exploring who Bertha Mason was before she became Rochester's dark secret. Brontë doesn't give much detail about Bertha, so she left you plenty of room to invent and you created a masterwork commentary on marriage, the roles of women, colonialism in the Caribbean, and so much more.
It was stunning story. Brilliantly insightful and moving. I only wish I could read it again for the first time, not knowing what was to come.