Lauren Albert's Reviews > After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie

After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys
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's review
Jul 20, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in July, 2010

Beautiful and bleak. I read this in one sitting. Such is Rhys' artistry that she creates an unlikeable character who is still sympathetic. She's trapped not just by the limitations of her time, but by the limitations of her own character. I kept thinking of Lily Barth from Wharton's House of Mirth--Lily is bound by tighter social conventions but also by her own strength of character and morals. Lily is more likable than Julia and surely she would have judged her more harshly than we do. Can we be trapped by our own character? Is there no way out from the traps we lay for ourselves? Rhys' dark books lead to a negative conclusion.

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