Currently reading: The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys by Lilian Pizzichini, a British author.
I don’t normally read biographies, but I am reading this one because I have the opportunity to interview the author in an article on WOW! Women on Writing. I work as an intern / contest manager for WOW! and once in awhile these little opportunities come up, so I jumped on this one.
While I was a study abroad student at the University of East Anglia I studied After Leaving Mr Mackenzie, one of Jean Rhys’ novels, in a Modernist Fiction class. I remember only bits and pieces of that novel, but the feeling I get when remembering that book is sad and grey. From reading The Blue Hour, I am learning that most of Jean Rhys’ life (at least up to page 245 in the book) was sad and grey. She flitted from man to man searching for someone to take care of her, which resulted in many unsatisfactory relationships. She became a sloppy, violent, alcoholic. Yet she produced many short stories and several novels which met with fairly good reviews. Critics praised the quality of her prose, but criticized her for her content, which was mostly consisted of low life men and women on the outskirts of society. Critics claimed that readers were not interested in reading about the lower classes. It seems now that Jean Rhys was ahead of her time.
I still have about 66 pages to read – and then I get to conduct the interview! I’ll post a link when it’s published.