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Good Morning, Midnight

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  7,683 ratings  ·  728 reviews
In 1930s Paris, where one cheap hotel room is very much like the 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 1939)
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Christopher Blurbs are often deliberately misleading to draw potential readers in (I used to write them and was often told to "exaggerate"). It's a bit damning th…moreBlurbs are often deliberately misleading to draw potential readers in (I used to write them and was often told to "exaggerate"). It's a bit damning that they think people are less likely to read a book about a middle-aged woman, but, yes, that's what Sasha is. If you read between the lines and look at the various dates and events she mentions, she's more likely 45 than 40. (Also, it's a roman a clef and set in 1937, when Rhys was 47.)(less)

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Dec 16, 2009 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
Oct 10, 2011 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!
Jim Fonseca
I had heard of this author from her well-know book Wide Sargasso Sea, a prequel and a feminist response to Jane Eyre’s ‘crazy woman in the attic.’ Although I have not read that book I decided to give this one a try.

Wow, what a surprise! I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect such in-your-face language from a woman writer published back in 1938. A lonely French woman in Paris wanders from dingy bar to dingy bar and from seedy hotel to seedy hotel. She’s getting a change of scenery from
Sean Barrs
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
After the first week I made up my mind to kill myself- the usual whiff of chloroform. Next week, or next month, or next year I’ll kill myself……

These are words spoken with truth and clarity. They’re simple and honest. And not for a single moment in the novel did I doubt them, not for a single moment did I conceive that there could be an alternative ending. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: this isn’t a nice novel. There is very little in the way of redemptive themes, and the motif of fr
Adam Dalva
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Electric stream-of-consciousness novel whose action largely takes place in the margins. Rhys is an extraordinary writer of inner-state, and she finds a surprising amount of observational humor in the struggles of her narrator, Sophia Jansen, who has returned to Paris years after a tragedy. This is one of the great novels of alcoholism that I have read, as Jansen finds both release and embarrassment in her mash-together of days. Characters, mainly men, flit in and out of this book in a daze, and ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rating... I’m not home now - I’ll write a review tomorrow.
Great buddy read with Violet!


This is my 3rd book within a couple of months - by Jean Rhys - so one can assume correct that I think Rhys was a phenomenal writer.
This is the bleakest of the 3 novels....but it’s possibly my favorite....much to reflect on.....many pages ‘to pause’: set the book down to examine the story itself and our own lives.

Since I’m having discussions with Violet through buddy reading - I don’t feel compell
Steven Godin
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good Morning Midnight (1939), sees Englishwoman Sasha Jansen come to Paris on borrowed money to recapture the happiness and exorcise the pain of her previous life there. The first person narrative is awash with cafe's, hotel rooms, drinking, crying, sleeping, self-pity, more hotel rooms, more crying, falling for men one minute, hating them the next, being broke, feeling miserable, You get the picture, she's a wreak.

Told with a spare prose style, this reads as a work of fiction but also redeems
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: The defeated in need of self-respect
Shelves: read-in-2017
Emily Dickinson, poem 382.
“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!”

The desperation of having sunk so low to a bottomless pit where disaffection has taken over the zest for life is at the back
Nidhi Singh
May 28, 2014 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. 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 co
Violet wells
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
What happens to a woman when her self-esteem becomes entirely dependent on mirrors and men. Everything about Sasha, our narrator, has seen better days, including her fur coat which she wears as a kind of memory mantra of better days. There's a febrile pressing authenticity about the way Rhys writes of this squalid repetitive purgatorial world. You can feel the squalor and fatality of Sasha's downward spiral on your skin. Sasha herself seems to have little psychological insight - betokened by the ...more
Jan 29, 2014 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
Feb 26, 2012 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 tend to wallow
Mar 11, 2016 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
Dec 20, 2011 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
Paul Bryant
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,
Richard Derus
Dec 19, 2011 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
Oct 29, 2012 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
Sep 24, 2013 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). L ...more
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

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 her
Mar 10, 2015 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
Nov 21, 2015 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
Feb 28, 2013 rated it 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
E. G.
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Publisher's Note in the 1967 André Deutsch edition

--Good Morning, Midnight
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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'
Group Read - 2015: The Year of Reading Women
Doug H
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Men are pigs. Cheers!
Sasha Jensen is so sad. So so so sad.

I stumbled through this until I realized the words tumbled on the pages were quite like free associating, just writing what you think as you think it, except these were the words of poor old Sasha Jensen who been there and done that so many ways - happily - and now revisiting as an older version of herself, now not armed with the jocular indifference of youth. . .she was lost. In all the places she knew so well, she was uncovered, unprepared and astonished at
Connie G
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
✨    jay   ✨
first part was so hard to get into, the next ones were easier. Part 3 was my favourite

one of those books I didn't really like reading but enjoyed talking about

MC needing to have a drink everytime something went wrong was relatable

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Reading 1001: Good Morning, Midnight - Jean Rhys 5 20 Jul 12, 2018 12:38PM  
Jean Rhys Reading...: Good Morning, Midnight 8 44 Sep 18, 2016 09:21AM  
2015: The Year of...: Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys 58 85 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

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