Friday, June 3, 2011

Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

This is the first novel in The Complete Novels of Jean RhysThis novel is one of the Fifteen in 2011. It is also the first of the 3 books per month I'll be reading for "Books I Should Have Read by Now" Challenge (heretofore referred to as BISHRBN Challenge)
Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys is supposedly a semi-autobiographical novel that, if you ask me, is short enough that I honestly consider it more a novella.  The story is simple–a chorus girl goes out on a double date of sorts and gets caught up in a relationship that is doomed before it even begins.  The consequences of what happens next, the final climactic choice she must make, are all told through an interesting first person voice.

It is immediately apparent that Rhys is embracing the use of psychological insight and stream-of-consciousness throughout the novel.  The narrator, Anna Morgan, remains somewhat enigmatic throughout, thinking her way through her circumstances.  It is almost as if the reader has more feeling for her regarding her situation than she herself, as she tries to survive by distancing herself.

I found myself reading this novel and thinking that it reminded me a lot of Anais Nin’s Spy in the House of Love.  The tone and mood are solid throughout and the story pathetic in the purest sense of the word.  If Anna doesn’t feel her experiences deeply as she over-analyzes everything, the reader is allowed to feel for her, knowing the writing is there on the wall and wishing it were otherwise.

A lovely evocative novel but not one I think most people will like.  Which is probably why I did.


  1. Great review! I also love the abbreviation of the challenge name. Next time I host one I won't make the title of it so long. :)

  2. Not a problem that the challenge title is so long. As you can see, I am not afraid of acronyms. And the challenge is encouraging me to read those books I've been wanting to read and/or should have read so I'm having fun.

  3. I have to read this novel next semester for one of my classes. Thank you for the keen insight. :)

  4. Glad my review was of help.

    I would recommend Jean Rys by Sylvie Maurel. If you search "Sylvie Maurel" in my other blog, you'll see I have a few quotes from her book. (I apologize for not having the page number for one. I've put in a request at the library to borrow the book again so I can rectify that asap.)

    There are other quotes in the book about other novels by Rhys that you may find useful in your class next semester. Good luck!


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