The Blue Hour

A Life of Jean Rhys

By Lilian Pizzichini
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393058031, 322pp.)

Publication Date: May 2009

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Description
Jean Rhys (1890 1979) is best known for her 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea. A prequel to Jane Eyre, Rhys s revolutionary work reimagined the story of Bertha Rochester the misunderstood madwoman in the attic who was driven to insanity by cruelties beyond her control. The Blue Hour performs a similar exhumation of Rhys s life, which was haunted by demons from within and without. Its examination of Rhys s pain and loss charts her desperate journey from the jungles of Dominica to a British boarding school, and then into an adult life scarred by three failed marriages, the deaths of her two children, and her long battle with alcoholism.A mesmerizing evocation of a fragile and brilliant mind, The Blue Hour explores the crucial element that ultimately spared Rhys from the fate of her most famous protagonist: a genius that rescued her, again and again, from the abyss.
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