Today is the birthday of Jean Rhys, possibly my favorite writer of all time. I’ve read “Voyage in the Dark” at least six times and every time I can’t imagine a more perfect novel. Public radio’s “Writers Almanac” erroneously attributes the plot of “Voyage in the Dark” to “Good Morning, Midnight,” but otherwise gets the basics right:
“It’s the birthday of writer Jean Rhys, born Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams in Roseau, Dominica, West Indies (1890). She was a depressed alcoholic who called herself “a doormat in a world of boots,” . . .
Rhys wrote throughout the 1920s and ’30s, and then dropped out of public view for about twenty years when she went off to live in a cottage in the English countryside. She started to write again at the end of the ’50s, and wrote short stories that were published in British magazines. In 1960 , she came out with her most famous novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, about the relationship between a powerful European man and a poor West Indian woman.”
I’m reading Joan Didion’s “Play It as It Lays” right now and finding it so strikingly stylistically similar . . .