Cari's Reviews > Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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Nov 21, 08

bookshelves: sensual, 2008, novellas
Recommended for: Fans of classic literature
Read in November, 2008

Though a short read at 160 pages, Wide Sargasso Sea should not be read quickly, absolutely should not be devoured in one sitting. Too much would be missed if the reader read it too quickly: the author's subtle and poignant style, the points at which various relationships change (long before the increasing menace or passionate turn makes itself painfully clear to the characters), and the beautiful, emotional tone of the overall story, among other things. This book should be read with leisure, perhaps a chapter or two before bed each night, every word savored and considered before continuing on. The feel of Wide Sargasso Sea is one of lethargy, as if even the reader is drugged, and rushing through the pages is in contrast to that, to the detriment of the reader's understanding and enjoyment. Beautiful and simple, the story (acting as a prequel to Jane Eyre, focusing on Rochester's first wife and the early days of their marriage) moves with gathering horror to its conclusion: Antoinetta's inevitable madness.

Beautifully written, with even the setting contributing to the drugged quality of the story, it is at once intriguing, mournful, and, on a very instinctual level, horrifying. Well worth a read, and then a second.
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11/18/2008 page 86
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