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Tigers are Better-Looking: With a selection from The Left Bank

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Tigers are Better-Looking incorporates selections from Jean Rhys's first book of stories, The Left Bank, published in 1927, and later stories written after 1939. In them she encompasses within a few pages both the gaiety and charm of youth and love, and an awareness of all that threatens them.

Writing in The New York Times, A. Alvarez has called these stories
...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Penguin Classics (first published 1968)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  266 ratings  ·  22 reviews


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Moira Russell
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This has one of my favourite passages about reading ever in it:

"....one of those long, romantic novels, six hundred and fifty pages of small print, translated from French or German or Hungarian or something -- because few of the English ones have the exact feeling I mean. And you read one page of it or even one phrase of it, and then you gobble up all the rest and go about in a dream for weeks afterwards, for months afterwards -- perhaps all your life, who knows? -- surrounded by those six
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Melissa Kapow
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Completely bowled over. Her prickly and precarious narratives of women, men, and other women were spot-on; muse as outsider, as underdog. I felt a complete affinity with her voice. Each story was succinct and began and ended at the precisely right moment. One of my favorite passages:

"I had touched the right spring - even the feeling of his hand on my arm changed. Always the same spring to touch before the sneering expression will go out of their eyes and the sneering sound out of their voices.
...more
Debbie Robson
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Tigers are Better-Looking which includes some stories from an earlier collection The Left Bank is, for this reader anyway, a mixed bag but what struck me straight away is how modern all the stories are. I can’t believe a lot of them were written in the 1920s and 30s.
Because I’m researching Paris in the 1920s I started with The Left Bank stories first. As an introduction there is a very patronising preface from Ford Maddox Ford who bemoans the fact Rhys doesn’t like to use topography of the
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Stephen Curran
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1968, featuring stories that go back to 1927, almost anything in TIGERS ARE BETTER LOOKING could have been written yesterday. I think it's the directness the author's voice. It breaks though the barrier of time. 'The Sound of the River' (an account of the death of Jean Rhys's husband) even reminded me of Tobias Wolff. That story, and 'Till September Petronella", were my favourites in the collection.

Less successful, I thought, were the pieces selected from THE LEFT BANK: sketches
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JacquiWine
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I write about this book here:

https://jacquiwine.wordpress.com/2016...

Here's a brief excerpt:

many of Rhys’ stories were inspired by elements of her own life. Some of her women are eking out a living as chorus girls or artists’ models; others are confined to tawdry rooms, seeking refuge in drink and sleeping tablets. Several are hanging on to life by the thinnest of threads.

Petronella, the protagonist of Till September Petronella, has hit a bad patch in life. Feeling depressed following the
...more
Elsie
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is another book of short stories by Jean Rhys. I find her so poetic.
I'm not a good reviewer, I can't restate my feelings well or describe in literary terms her style and themes, but here are a few passages I felt from the stories:

Outside the Machine – about women in a free Paris hospital after the war
They (nurses) too were parts of a machine. They had a strength, a certainty, because all their lives they had belonged to the machine and worked smoothly, in and out, just as they were told.
...more
Anne Fenn
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Really interesting to read another female writer in the vein of Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy Richardson, Virginia Woolf etc. That dreamlike flow of thoughts, feelings, it's visual, you can taste and smell it. Her characters are strange indeed, yet we're taken right inside their minds in a flash. I liked it but found it kept slipping through my fingers.
Alan Stuart
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories in the first half of this collection are wonderful as are many in the selection from The Left Bank. The final story Vienne I found erratic and difficult to enjoy, although the end is worth reaching.
Paul Kerschen
Jul 09, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019
I love her drawing, the economy with which she touches up her interior scenes.
Rhonda
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
High modernism; requires plumbing.
Debra
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read every one of Jean Rhys' novels between the ages of 18 and 22 because I couldn't get enough of her drunken, promiscuous and slightly bewildered heroines wandering through the early 20th century avant garde. Accidentally encountering this Guardian article online reminded me of her and of reading Voyage in the Dark in a London bedsit shortly after arriving there, feeling the romanticized exhilaration of alienation and feeling like Anna longing for sunshine in the midst of the judgmental ...more
C.S. Burrough
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
No Jean Rhys fan would want to let this priceless opportunity pass.

Included is her fateful, first ever published collection 'Stories from the Left Bank', a glimpse of the legend in the making, as a young aspiring novice writer - even then she had the intuitive brilliance that made her adored by her select, intimate following. That her lover Ford Maddox Ford originally published these was clearly no pillow favour - he genuinely saw a rare, unique voice that would echo down through the ages after
...more
Hannah
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
SHort Story Read: Tea with an artist.
Paula Dembeck
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories with themes of woman as underdogs, exploiting their sexuality. She wrote about woman as society’s victims, with all the passion and despair of losers. Stories are set in Paris, London and the Caribbean, all places she had lived. They conjure up the loneliness of the rented room, the regrets of a failed love affair and the temporary oblivion of alcohol. She wrote about woman in a style and mood that was ahead of her time and seems to be writing of her own life –she ...more
Lyann
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
one of my first books which was read to me by my mother and was used to teach me how to read Jean Rhys and as i grew older i kept on reading it , it was only till i was 12 that i could fully understand the book . Jean Rhys is one of the best author's from the Caribbean and attending the high school where she attended is a great honor knowing i am walking the same halls one of the most talented author walked
Kaiulani Anderson-Andrei
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college-days
A great selection of stories, each one will leave you guessing.
Karen
Feb 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
Probably a 3.5. I thought the quality of the stories varied quite a bit, although I also admire Rhys' prose. But they are almost unremittingly bleak, perhaps not the best read for this time of year.
Lindsay
Short stories connected by the characters dissatisfaction with their lives, the author captures small moments, emotions and people wonderfully.
Vestige21
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like dark chocolate. Bitter and sweet. A portrait of the insouciance of the 20's.
Ruth
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An uneven collection of short stories: though the better ones are very good.
Anna
Aug 23, 2007 is currently reading it
Shelves: fiction
I have a great copy of this. It has the craziest cover, all bright pink and psychedelic.
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Laura Benton
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Nov 13, 2011
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Jan 06, 2014
Kirsty Morrison
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Jul 02, 2014
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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 ...more
“....one of those long, romantic novels, six hundred and fifty pages of small print, translated from French or German or Hungarian or something -- because few of the English ones have the exact feeling I mean. And you read one page of it or even one phrase of it, and then you gobble up all the rest and go about in a dream for weeks afterwards, for months afterwards -- perhaps all your life, who knows? -- surrounded by those six hundred and fifty pages, the houses, the streets, the snow, the river, the roses, the girls, the sun, the ladies' dresses and the gentlemen's voices, the old, wicked, hard-hearted women and the old, sad women, the waltz music -- everything. What is not there you put in afterwards, for it is alive, this book, and it grows in your head. 'The house I was living in when I read that book,' you think, or 'This colour reminds me of that book.” 34 likes
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