Voyage in the Dark (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Aug 2000
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Miss Rhys has not often been more steadily successful than in her account of Anna Morgan's quite ordinary tragedy. . . . Miss Rhys has done a nearly perfect job.--T. P., Jr.
About the Author
Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1894. Coming to England aged 16, she drifted into various jobs before starting to write in the late 1920's. Her novels, often portraying women as underdogs out to exploit their sexualities, were ahead of their timeand only modestly successful. Partly autobiographical, VOYAGE IN THE DARK was first published in 1934. From 1939 she lived reclusively, and was largely forgotten when she made a sensational comeback with 'Wide Sargasso Sea' in 1966. She died in 1979.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Published 17 months ago by Dadio
The blurb on the back page led me to believe that I was in for something special. I was very disappointed with the book.Published on 8 Mar. 2011 by libris
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. Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2010 by Whyareyouonyourowntonight