#18 - Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
I had read Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys' novel about Mr. Rochester's mad first wife, and was intrigued to come across this novel, written thirty years earlier in 1938. Apparently, Rhys wrote a number of novels in between the wars, then disappeared completely for 20 or 30 years, and was basically presumed to be dead, until she re-appeared after a radio performance of Good Morning, Midnight. She then finished Wide Sargasso Sea, which became very popular.
This is an incredibly depressing book! Goodness. It is a meandering, stream of consciousness first person narrative, narrated by a woman, Sasha, who, now middle-aged, has returned to Paris from England to spend some time in a cheap hotel courtesy of a friend who thinks it will help her depression and, I would say, alcoholism. Seems like a vain hope, given that Paris is where her life fell apart years before - it involves marriage to a penniless charmer, a baby that dies, desertion, and descent towards the bottle. Now, years later, she wanders Paris, drinking and taking up with strangers. She hates people, and everything reminds her of the past. The ending is disturbing and confusing.
I didn't exactly like it, or relate to it, but I won't forget it. Hm.