Wide Sargasso Sea

by Jean Rhys

OK! Don't really like this one; glad it goes quickly. I think the books are supposed to be getting better as I move up the list, not worse. Now I feel bad for ranking Under the Net so low, because it stands head & shoulders above Wide Sargasso Sea.

I never find anything to relate to in this book, no character to really identify with, no setting or plot line to cling to. Is it well-written? In so far as it successfully conveys a story that I THINK I understand, yes, but beyond that, I don't find the story—or storytelling—particularly pleasurable in any way. In other words, I read this one mostly just to get through it—I am not very interested in it.

I suppose you could say the narrative is unique in that it switches perspectives a few times (and I wonder how quickly I would have figured this out were it not for the introduction that keys the reader to this fact). I also understand that this book has achieved some feat in that the author chooses to flesh out a character from another novel (Jane Eyre). I have to confess to only ever having faked reading Jane Eyre in high school (sorry, Mrs. B.), so perhaps that aspect of the story is lost on me.

Anyway. I don't like it. There's nothing really much wrong with it; it just doesn't speak to me, that's all. Indeed, I should add here that the most memorable thing about this book (aside from the unease one is left with upon reading of the nightmarish effects of black magic on a person) is the experience I create for myself while reading it. For some reason I adopt a peripatetic style with the reading of this book, & wear a well trod path in a great flat circle in the park.