Jean Rhys: Life and Work

Carole Angier, Author, Carole Angler, Author Little Brown and Company $35 (762p) ISBN 978-0-316-04263-5
In 1973 critic Al Alvarez called her the best living English novelist, and in the same year PW reported a ``rush'' on her novels, among them Quartet, Voyage in the Dark and her masterpiece, Wide Sargasso Sea. Rhys (1890-1979) was an odd bundle of qualities that included narcissism, paranoia, charm, self-pity, self-destructiveness, rage against men and a general wildness of temperament that owed something to the steamy island of Dominica where she was born. But as British freelance writer Angier amply shows in this hefty critical biography--where fact and insight lie cheek by jowl--she was adept at ``distilling truth out of evasion and art out of pain.'' For her (and her heroines), loving meant losing, a lesson acquired through several marriages and passionate affairs, the most formative, from the literary point of view, with Ford Madox Ford. Perhaps this impressive study will trigger another rush on a poetic novelist now suffering a mild neglect. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Paperback - 136 pages - 978-0-14-008001-8
Hardcover - 126 pages - 978-0-670-80626-3
Paperback - 794 pages - 978-0-571-27641-7
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