Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

wide sargasso seaWritten as a prequel to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Wide Sargasso Sea is now a classic in its own right.  It tells the story of Antoinette Cosway, a white Creole woman from Jamaica, who will eventually become the attic-bound Mrs. Rochester.  In rich and evocative prose, Rhys details Antoinette’s childhood at Coulibri, a grand but crumbling estate, and her volatile marriage to a wealthy Englishman.  In under 200 pages, Wide Sargasso Sea examines issues of race, colonialism, mental illness, and marriage’s constricting gender roles.

Quote:
“I hated the mountains and the hills, the rivers and the rain. I hated the sunsets of whatever colour, I hated its beauty and its magic and the secret I would never know. I hated its indifference and the cruelty which was part of its loveliness. Above all I hated her. For she belonged to the magic and the loveliness. She had left me thirsty and all my life would be thirst and longing for what I had lost before I found it.”

Author:
Jean Rhys (1890-1979) was born in Dominica and, at the age of 16, was sent to England, where she lived for most of her life.  Her books include Quartet; Voyage in the Dark; Good Morning, Midnight; and Wide Sargasso Sea.

Published:  1966
Length:  176 pages
Primary Settings:  Jamaica; Dominica
Secondary Setting:  England

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