Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

This is a book in my second line of 'connected' reading. The first and previous book was Wide Sargasso Sea so the connection is the author. See ny new 'Connected' page here or go directly from the Home page.

As mentioned in my review of the previous book the author is new to me. And what a pleasant surprise. Having finished the second book, I look forward reading more by Rhys. She has a simple, poetic, down to earth language in her stories, which is quite fascinating. The two books I have read have another thing in common. The story takes places in Dominica and England, and tells of the difficulties to come from an exotic, beautiful, warm island to the coldness of England. Both in the different climates, but also how people are behaving.

Anna Morgan is forced to leave her exotic island when her father dies. She comes to live with her aunt in England. When she has finished school she is working in a travelling theatre company, and to start with we follow her through one cold town after the other. Since we see the world from Anna's point it is always cold. Maybe that is why you think the story takes place during the winter, although this is not specifically pointed out. Through her friend Maudi she meets Walter for a date. He contacts her again and they start a relationship. She leaves the theatre company, stays in London, and through his friend takes acting lessons. We don't really know what Walter is doing, but he seems to earn quite a lot of money, and supports her.

Finishing while eating breakfast.
A good way to start the day.
Through the story we follow Anna on her wobbly way through London night-life, or 'demi-monde'
life in London in the beginning of the 20th century. It is a rather sad story, Anna never seems to laugh and she does not speak a lot. She looks different, and acts different from others of her age. The world from her eyes is very bleak, and she sees no way forward. She lets opportunity and destiny rule her life, and is like a lost boat on the big sea.

From Anna view, everything looks the same; all the cities they visit, all rooms that she rents, streets, people, restaurants. It is like a long, vague blur.

It is a short book, only 159 pages in my penguin pocket. On those pages Rhys manages to engage ourself in Anna's story and always hope the best for her. The ending is open for interpretation and I will not spoil it here with my own opinion. The book was written in 1934, but seems very modern even today.

No comments:

Post a Comment