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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A literary voyage of discovery
Voyage in the Dark is the story of one young woman as she journeys through a tangled web of dubious acquaintances, seedy dwellings and alcohol-fuelled encounters in the demi-monde of late Edwardian England.

Having decided she is too costly to look after, Anna is sent from her Jamaican home to the care, or rather supervision, of a guardian, her aunt. The aunt is...
Published on 5 Oct. 2010 by ladywebslinger

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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time, alas
This is an enjoyable, if short, early novel by the once forgotten British writer, Jean Rhys, who’s celebrated, Wide Sargasso Sea, contains the same inspiration that of her upbringing in the Caribbean.
Essentially autobiographical, she tells the story of Anna Morgan, a 19 year old girl, recently arrived in London from Dominica (Rhys was born and raised on the...
Published on 8 Mar. 2006 by VanGo


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A literary voyage of discovery, 5 Oct. 2010
By 
ladywebslinger (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Voyage in the Dark is the story of one young woman as she journeys through a tangled web of dubious acquaintances, seedy dwellings and alcohol-fuelled encounters in the demi-monde of late Edwardian England.

Having decided she is too costly to look after, Anna is sent from her Jamaican home to the care, or rather supervision, of a guardian, her aunt. The aunt is interested in little more than what she can get from the relationship and refuses, when asked, to pay for the return of young Anna to her native land. The action begins on a foggy cold street in England where Anna and a friend, both chorus girls, are 'picked up' by two wealthy man. What follows is the seduction, and ultimately the betrayal of Anna by her older lover, Walter, and her subsequent unravelling as she tries to make ends meet.

The reason for the 5 stars is not only the intrigue Rhys imbues in her character, and the 'what will become of her' quality she lends the same, but for the beautiful writing style, and skilled switches between Anna's conscious and sub-conscious mind as she voyages yet further into the darkness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadness, loneliness, homesickness in Camden Town, 4 July 2012
By 
Christopher H (Keilor, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
One might praise its literary achievements, yet this is one of the saddest books. Jean Rhys was up there with Virginia Woolf and Rosamond Lehmann with her writing in the 1930s, developing a Modernist prose style where the narrative almost effortlessly jumps from thoughts to events to dialogue. Technically, there is much to savour and admire, to learn from. It is high art. But it all gets hard to appreciate due to the story that is unfolding. At moments you can't stand back objectively and praise the writer's skill, because events being described overwhelm.

With no siblings, her mother long in the grave, her father recently dead, and neither inheritance nor financial resources, not even an education to fall back on, 18 year old Anna is alone in the world and trying to survive. To compound matters, she was born and raised in the West Indies, although her stepmother has brought her to Britain, and then left her to fend for herself in this strange land. She thinks that she is getting by. However, we can see that Anna is floundering.

Rhys's novel has that drabness of the paintings of Walter Sickett and Camden Town School - the world seems small, dingy, somewhat claustraphobic with no relief, no way out. Indeed, much of the story unfolds in the cheerless grey streets of Camden Town and Bayswater. There seem to be no moments of pleasure and delight: "The houses on either side of the street were small and dark," Anna explains at one point, "and then they were big and dark but all exactly alike. And I saw that all my life I had known this was going to happen, and that I'd been afraid for a long time, I'd been afraid for a long time." (p.82)

Anna's story is almost archetypal. Nowadays hard drugs and the sex trade would be creeping out of the shadows; in this story it is alcohol and sexual exploitation. The novel itself charts Anna's very first affair, from meeting Walter (who is 20+ years her senior), to trying to sort out her confused feelings when he has dumped her. It doesn't help that she does not really love him: she just craves the stability and warmth of a caring and enduring friendship. Anna is vulnerable and emotionally quite unprepared for the world she has been cast into (the novel begs comparison with Rosamond Lehmann's The Weather In The Streets, also written in the 1930s, also about a single girl in London, also about the tragic course of an affair - although Olivia has maturity on her side).

Weaving through the narrative, too, is Anna's homesickness, which grows ever greater. It is this element that especially touched me, making this one of the saddest stories I have ever read. (Those of us from other parts who have spent time in Britain know the experience of feeling utterly desolate there - the rain, the cold, the weak sunlight, people's accents, it all works on you after a while and you so miss home.)

This is one of the finest novels of the 1930s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first book I have read by Jean Rhys - and not the last, 5 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The first book I have read by Jean Rhys - and not the last. Clearly biographical and very well written too. The protagonist - Anna - arrives in England from the West Indies and has to adapt to a new country, a new culture, and a society that is changing fast. Anna is ill equipped to deal with her life as a chorus girl traveling the country, and the characters she encounters. Most of whom want something from her and in the process leave her more damaged. The writing is wonderful and I was engrossed from the first few pages. I'm looking forward to reading more books by Jean Rhys.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must!!!, 5 Mar. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Gripping!! A brilliant book of a young girls struggle to become a woman in London in the 1930's. The main character, Anna, is a perfect example of the 'New Woman' of modernism that was developing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Arriving in England from the West Indies Anna becomes a chorus girl traveling the country. It is on these travels that she meet a variety of charcters all whom tarnish her in some way, men who give her money for sex and women who trick her out of money. This is a brilliant read. It is a book I couldn't put down, with an ending that will pull the heart strings of every reader. It is a book filled with intrege about a hypocritical society that virtually ruins this young naive girl. This book a must. It's simple style makes it an easy read, at the same time however there is nothing simplistic about the plot. You've got to try it -it's a must!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite book, 10 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
a genius of a writer, naturalistic, and Voyage in the Dark - my favourite of all her books, and hers too according to her biographies. There is also a brilliant review of this book by Andrea Dworkin entitled ""Voyage in the Dark: Hers and Ours" which highlights why Jean Rhys is such an important and valuable writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars She ought to be up there amongst the best and read more widely, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Jean Rhys is one of the most underrated authors of the Twentieth Century. She ought to be up there amongst the best and read more widely. I recommend this novel strongly.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time, alas, 8 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is an enjoyable, if short, early novel by the once forgotten British writer, Jean Rhys, who’s celebrated, Wide Sargasso Sea, contains the same inspiration that of her upbringing in the Caribbean.
Essentially autobiographical, she tells the story of Anna Morgan, a 19 year old girl, recently arrived in London from Dominica (Rhys was born and raised on the small Caribbean island of Dominica). Evoking a penurious existence of cold London bed sits, surrounded by bleak fog and bad food. (Unsurprising as Dominica is famed for its lush habitat, “The Nature Island of the Caribbean”).
She relates the people that Anna encounters who invariably are sexually predatory men, selfish and jealous women and cold hearted relatives. But Anna is also a callow youth, cold towards everyone she meets and so I couldn’t relate to her, but mainly as she acted impulsively and without reason.
However, this novel was ahead of its time in describing the alienation of a newly arrived emigrant and also the situation and plight of women when sick or unemployed. In the absence of a social welfare system, Rhys portrays the women who relied on finding a man to look after them, and also the men who used them for their ends.
Apart form this I personally wouldn’t buy this book on its own despite it having some insights into the world of London and a woman’s place in it at a certain time period. I don’t think it’s a fully appreciated work unless read together with those of her other earlier novels, perhaps as part of a collected works series.
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very average effort from Jean Rhys., 13 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is not the masterpiece of a book it pretends to be. A jamaician woman in Britain who can't find her place and gets used and abused. Semi-autobiographical, Rhys was having a break down, all well and good- but I was massively impressed by it to be honest. A book, which was with a little bit of effort, could have been a reasonable read.
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars voyage in the dark, 8 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The blurb on the back page led me to believe that I was in for something special. I was very disappointed with the book.
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Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics)
Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) by Jean Rhys (Paperback - 3 Aug. 2000)
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