Book Fortythree: Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

I'm sure this is a Great Book. But probably not a great book for me. I found the dream-like atmosphere overwhelming and the poetry-like dialogue irritating. I know, I know, that was totally not the point of the book, and yet I just couldn't get past it. I notoriously dislike anything that has a whiff of Poetry about it (and no, that doesn't mean that I dislike actual poetry, the world is filled with some lovely poetry, but I mean things that are Poetic... and you know what I'm talking about, right?) And as a supplement to Jane Eyre it didn't totally make sense. I really am in love with the idea of humanizing the Bertha character, but I found this portrait didn't quite accomplish the task. It was actually quite difficult to finish the novel feeling much sympathy for any of the characters. Bertha/Antoinette may have had a difficult life and bad genetics, but that didn't mean she had to be so terribly self-absorbed, Rochester (who hardly felt like Rochester from Jane Eyre, even a younger more naive Rochester) seemed for a while like he was doing his best, but blew it a few too many times to be at all sympathetic, Mr. Mason was horrible no-good pimp, Antoinette's mother pretty much started off crazy, Christophine could have done anything other than anything she did, and... well, blerg.

I've said it before: I don't think a novel necessarily needs to contain any sympathetic characters to be considered good, but I do hold it against a book that was written in order better understand a character from another novel. And for me, this didn't quite meet that expectation.


Blogger Traxy said...

I agree. I think it would have been a much better book if she had opted for different names than the ones we know from Jane Eyre. The book as such is very well-written but I just can't enjoy it from a JE perspective.

September 20, 2010 at 5:30 PM  

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