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Good Morning, Midnight

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  3,761 Ratings  ·  349 Reviews
In 1930s Paris, where one cheap hotel room is very like another, a young woman is teaching herself indifference. She has escaped personal tragedy and has come to France to find courage and seek independence. She tells herself to expect nothing, especially not kindness, least of all from men. Tomorrow, she resolves, she will dye her hair blonde.
Paperback, Penguin Modern Classics, 159 pages
Published August 3rd 2000 by Penguin Group (CA) (first published 1937)
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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldLolita by Vladimir NabokovOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
Penguin Modern Classics
55th out of 294 books — 285 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
407th out of 1,316 books — 4,371 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dec 22, 2009 Buck rated it really liked it
Recommended to Buck by: Diana Athill, by way of Lobstergirl
Shelves: chicks-dig-it
A disaffected, thirty-something guy abandons his wife, moves to Paris and sleeps with some prostitutes. His name is Henry Miller and the book is called Tropic of Cancer.

A disaffected, thirty-something woman, after being abandoned by her husband, goes to Paris and almost sleeps with a gigolo. Her name is Jean Rhys and the book is called Good Morning, Midnight.

As near as I can figure, Miller and Rhys were in Paris at the same time. Maybe they even hung out in the same cafés and bought each other r
Bill  Kerwin
Aug 14, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

A clear-eyed chronicle of desperation etched in diamond-hard prose.

It amazes me how any book so filled with despair could be so completely free of self-pity, and how any book consisting entirely of an inward monologue could contain such vivid realistic details and make Paris in the '30's come alive!
Apr 28, 2016 Ted rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ted by: Lauren
I had the bright idea of drinking myself to death...I've had enough of these streets that sweat a cold, yellow slime, of hostile people, of crying myself to sleep every night, enough of thinking, enough of remembering. Now whiskey, rum, gin, sherry, vermouth, wine...Drink,drink,drink...As soon as I sober up I start again. I have to force it down sometimes...But nothing. I must be solid as an oak. Except when I cry.

What to say about this book?

What to say about Jean Rhys?

Could she have had a happ
Nidhi Singh
Feb 17, 2015 Nidhi Singh rated it it was amazing
Today I must be careful, today I have left my armour at home.

Little by little everything turns to break her. How she suffers in isolation and feels conjoined and yet detached with all that is damned and discarded and how this leads to an intensification of the loneliness she feels. Defenseless, willing to run away from this and everything, every moment of living chased and cursed by unkindness, condescension and mockery. As if everyone who is a part of this ruthless world has merged into that
Aug 27, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Lonely Hearts Club
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: Mariel's review of 'after leaving Mr.Mackenzie
Good Morning—Midnight—
I'm coming Home—
Day—got tired of Me—
How could I—of Him?

Sunshine was a sweet place—
I liked to stay—
But Morn—didn't want me—now—

I can look—can't I—
When the East is Red?
The Hills—have a way—then—
That puts the Heart—abroad—

You—are not so fair—Midnight—
I chose—Day—
But—please take a little Girl—
He turned away!
~ Emily Dickenson


You know what feeling always does me in? Loneliness. When I start feeling lonely it’s hard for me to snap out of it. I ten
Mar 04, 2012 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the Siene's ripples
Recommended to Mariel by: Mars
Good Morning, Midnight is the suicide attempt after the first three Jean Rhys novels. In the river, not thrown in but feet wading in the tepidly toxic puddle. The dirty Seine. The unchosen clothes because they are front and back of the wardrobe still on. I don't know where the shoes are. Probably still on the shelf because there wasn't a fight. Quartet's dirty windows with dirty people inside are back. After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie's stillborn turtle shell room walked into the river and came out w ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1930s-modernist
This is one of Rhys’s earlier works and is popularly described as modernist; its title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem;

Good morning, Midnight!
I'm coming home,
Day got tired of me –
How could I of him?
Sunshine was a sweet place,
I liked to stay –
But Morn didn't want me – now –
So good night, Day!

It is the story of Sasha Jensen who in her mid age goes back to the haunts of her youth in Paris. She has been living in London on a small inherited income trying to drink herself to death. Having miserabl
Richard Derus
Dec 25, 2015 Richard Derus rated it did not like it
Rating: A grudging full 1* of five

The Publisher Says: In 1930s Paris, where one cheap hotel room is very like another, a young woman is teaching herself indifference. She has escaped personal tragedy and has come to France to find courage and seek independence. She tells herself to expect nothing, especially not kindness, least of all from men. Tomorrow, she resolves, she will dye her hair blonde.

My Review: I am not a woman. I think one needs to be a woman to appreciate Jean Rhys. I think one ne
Mar 03, 2016 rahul rated it really liked it
Shelves: gbbw
Zindagi tujh se har ek saans pai samjhauta karun,
Shaukh jeene ka hai mujhe,
Par itna toh nahi...

O Life! To compromise with you at every breath that I take,
I do have a wish to live,
But not the strength to compromise.

And could I say I understand her loneliness. That I sense it every time she pulls back into herself. She narrates her experiences, the stories that have shattered her. I listen to her silence. Watch her think over things beyond their worth. Sit beside her and wait for a tomorrow, a tom
Mar 05, 2016 Zanna rated it really liked it
I read this right after reading The Abandoned Baobab , and I found the structure and even the mood strikingly similar. Although Rhys' protagonist is a white woman and does not share Ken's experience as a colonized subject, Rhys herself originated from Dominica which had been under British rule (Dominica is one of the most magical places I have ever been to. I went on a tour there on my 24th birthday, which fell by mad luck on the day off at the end of my training week when I worked at sea). Lik ...more
Paul Bryant
Jun 19, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
There’s a great website called The Smoking Gun which features celebrity mugshots. The celebrities are divided into categories : Hollywood (A list and B list), Music, Killers, Business, Gangsters, Sports and Television, and… Nuisances. Since they haven’t got a Writers section, Jean Rhys’ mugshots would have been a perfect fit in the Nuisances section. But if there was a writer’s section, she’d surely have come top in number of arrests. The quality of the crimes, though, was rather poor.

And alas,

What doesn't kill you will make you fucked up in the head.

They get to them young, you see. They'll believe anything you say.

A woman lasts as long as her looks, and then I'm afraid she's no good anymore.
You mustn't talk, you mustn't think, you must stop thinking. Of course, it is like that.
But they are such sensitive, delicate creatures! Of course we must protect them from the world of self-sufficiency!

She was asking for it, wearing that sort of thing.

Did you see her? Coming in here
As usual, I find myself with nothing to say about a classic novel except that it deserves its status as a classic; I wish I'd read it sooner, though I can't decide whether I'd have appreciated it more or less when I was younger; and it will stick with me for a long time. Very simply written but it often feels profound in a quite startling way. I didn't love it when I was reading it, maybe because I found parts of it a bit close to the bone, but I now find that I want to read more Rhys.

A room is
Jun 04, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it
Publisher's Note in the 1967 André Deutsch edition

--Good Morning, Midnight
Nov 21, 2015 [P] rated it really liked it
Escape. For a while this was my favourite pastime. When things went wrong, I would flee, with a fleeting moment of joy and optimism in my heart. Things were always going wrong. Of course. Because I was unstable. I gave up everything. I quit a good job. I broke up with my girlfriend. A nice vase isn’t safe on a rickety table. London had done me in. I had done London in. I needed to hide, so I escaped and I went home and I hid. This all seems funny to me now. I started a casual thing, because that ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Vipassana rated it really liked it
For your place in a society manage your many faces.

Try to understand yourself. Look inward. Ask yourself many questions. Why do I get so angry at any criticism of my mother, yet I guiltlessly condemn her in public? Why am vying for the attention of this man I loathe? Why can't I kiss that girl who I admire so intensely? Why do my thoughts revolve around other people all the time? Why do I feel choked in my chest when I'm sad? Why am I eating this disgusting combination of nachos and jam?

In publ
Aug 26, 2015 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Well this was depressing. Not that it bothered me particularly, because we all know that I get drawn to depressing/tragic books like a moth to a flame (to use an overused expression).

This follows the narrator Sofia as she returns to Paris to try and live a solitary existence, despite the personal tragedy she has undergone previously that ties her to the city itself. I won't go into what happened to her, as this is for the reader to slowly find out. However, I will say that I think her character'
Sasha has been sent to Paris for a few weeks by a British friend who is worried about her. She is drinking heavily and medicating with a sleeping potion in a seedy hotel room with a view of the alley. In a stream-of-consciousness telling, Sasha thinks back about her unhappy marriage, the death of her baby boy, her abandonment by her husband, and her unsuccessful attempts at employment. In the 1930s women were very dependent on men and had few opportunities.

Sasha is hit by memories of earlier tim
Mar 03, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
We fought sometimes, Jean and I.

Midnight started well. We're introduced to narrator, Sasha Jensen, as she prepares to leave her claustrophobically secure room to find a place to have her nightly drink. This is a scene replicated many times throughout the novel. From the beginning we're aware that things in Sasha's world are shit. Just shit. In first person narration Sasha brings her world to life, gives us the skinny on why things are in fact as bad as they seem. But information does not come q
Sep 13, 2007 Arielle rated it it was amazing
Jean Rhys is shockingly elegant. She brilliantly confuses, and gives grace and redemption - a strange, ill-begotten contentment that isn't really contentment at all but hot, fiery hunger and anger and despair - to deeply sad characters. Her storytelling is tight, flawless, and unflinching. It's like a visit to the eye doctor - the doctor looks straight back to the retina and sees darkness.
Doug H
May 25, 2015 Doug H rated it liked it
Men are pigs. Cheers!
Group Read - 2015: The Year of Reading Women
Nate D
Harsh, depressive, beautiful, swimming between subjective memory, and subjectively-filtered present, struggling, but is it struggling back up to the surface and light, or down, down to the river bed, escape into an eternity of frozen murk on the bottom of the Seine?
Mohamed Al Marzooqi
تعد هذه الرواية إحدى أهم روايات جين ريز التي تصنف رواياتها غالبًا ضمن الأعمال النسوية الحداثية، وعندما نُشرت لأول مرة استقبلها النقاد بقسوة، بسبب كمية البؤس والكآبة والإحباط التي تبثها!

قرأت أثناء بحثي عن معلومات حول الكاتبة، بأنها بعد أن نشرت هذه الرواية دخلت في حالة شديدة من الاكتئاب دفعتها لاعتزال الناس والحياة .. والكتابة. والحقيقة أنني بعد أن انتهيت من قراءتها استغربت كيف لم تقم الكاتبة بقطع شرايين رسغها وتنتحر، فإن كنت كقارئ شعرت بالكآبة تجثم على صدري وأنا أقرأها، فكيف كان حال الكاتبة إذًا!
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This book rightfully deserves five stars. For if awards are given to books, like they are people, and prizes are given to the most this and the most that, this book, I think, will handily win the award of being The Loneliest Book Ever, and its main protagonist, Sasha Jansen, The Loneliest Character Ever to Come Out in a Work of Fiction.

The prose is interspersed with French. But those who do not know the language [like me:] can just go on ignoring the French. The English alone, sparse as it is, h
Feb 26, 2012 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing
A dazing, brutal experience. The slashing of
morality is maintained at the level of manners.
I resist "Wide S Sea" but find a perfect combination
of intensity and artistic completeness in early Rhys.
Dec 25, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
The most heartbreaking story of loneliness I've read.
Lee Foust
Apr 10, 2016 Lee Foust rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps the greatest novel ever written about human fragility, fear, and the plight of arriving at middle age without a partner or a family as an emotional safety net, what we might call middle-aged solitude. At least I have not read it's better.

Over the last year-and-a-half or so I've been reading Jean Rhys's novels in order (with the exception of Wide Sargasso Sea, which I've read a few times in different contexts). Good Morning, Midnight, sadly, for me, is the last--the cap of the cyc
Apr 27, 2014 Uncle rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Jean Rhys is famous for being obscure. Living a hardscrabble existence in Paris of the Twenties, she published several novels and story collections. Despite attracting the interest of some critics, readers seem to have mostly ignored her bleak tales of the difficult women. The publication of her masterpiece Good Morning, Midnight (in 1939) was the beginning of a long period of silence. For many years, readers and acquaintances thought she was dead. The 1966 publication of her novel Wide Sargass ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 20, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who want to be lonely
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-non-core, french
Ten days ago, my brother read this book and gave it a 5-star rating. He said: "this book, I think, will handily win the award of being The Loneliest Book Ever, and its main protagonist, Sasha Jansen, The Loneliest Character Ever to Come Out in a Work of Fiction."

I oftentimes agree to his opinion and share almost the same taste when it comes to books. However, I am giving this only a 3-star (which means I like it) but not higher (because I neither really like it nor amazed).

I think the main reaso
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Jean Rhys Reading...: Good Morning, Midnight 8 23 Sep 18, 2016 09:21AM  
2015: The Year of...: Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys 58 66 Apr 22, 2015 07:32AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternate Cover 5 28 Aug 10, 2014 03:27AM  
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Jean Rhys, originally Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams, was a Caribbean novelist who wrote in the mid 20th century. Her first four novels were published during the 1920s and 1930s, but it was not until the publication of Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966 that she emerged as a significant literary figure. A "prequel" to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea won a prestigious WH Smith Literary Award i ...more
More about Jean Rhys...

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“Today I must be very careful, today I have left my armor at home.” 149 likes
“A room is, after all, a place where you hide from the wolves. That's all any room is.” 78 likes
More quotes…