Kathryn's Reviews > The Collected Short Stories

The Collected Short Stories by Jean Rhys
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's review
Jan 23, 2008

liked it
Recommended to Kathryn by: Memory
Recommended for: Corinne
Read in March, 2008

Jean Rhys is a quiet force and I had forgotten all about her until I walked into the Oakland Public Library's Lake Merritt branch the other day and there she was. She had a long, not necessarily happy life; died in her eighties in the Left Bank. It's really fascinating to watch her prose evolve across this book--in some ways, it's like watching the structure of the short story become itself.

She is a gifted, gifted descriptor. Reading her sketches of cafes in Paris late at night is like seeing the rooms from behind her eyes; I see her there, in the corner, pad in hand, a mousy, pale person with glittering eyes. As she grows confidence in dialogue and plot, the stories get longer, so by the end of the book they're almost novelettes. And she becomes so funny--lightly tragic, not doomed; there is always just a touch of hope in these fallen people she lives with on these pages.

Just lovely stuff.
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