Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Other Desert Island Book

I’ve already told you that if I had to be stuck on a desert island, and couldn’t bring along a how-to-get-off-a-desert-island book, I’d bring Jane Eyre for the good company it has always provided me.  But, if given a bigger backpack and the luxury of a second choice, I’d also bring the best Jane Eyre companion book ever – Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.  If you haven’t read it, you must.  If you love Jane Eyre, you’ll never be the same after also reading Wide Sargasso Sea, which is essentially Bertha’s story.  Told from the perspective of the woman destined to become the quintessential madwoman in the attic, and from the perspective of an unnamed male narrator (presumably Mr. Rochester), Rhys’s gorgeous, lush novella deepens the questions about society, gender and relationships that Charlotte Brontë’s book begins.  And for those of you who are already fans, let’s vote for the next possible spin-off (perhaps to be written by one of us?).  After gorging on Jane and Antoinette (Bertha) in the above-mentioned desert island books, which Jane Eyre or Wide Sargasso Sea character would you also love to hear from?  Grace Poole?  Christophine?  Céline Varens?  Amélie?  I know . . . choices, choice, choices!


  1. I just watched the movie and re-read this book recently. It's one of my favorites, and it really hit home this time, the idea that sometimes we let men make us think we are 'crazy' when really it's just emotion or intuition, etc. I also realized that if I'd lived 100 years ago, I'd probably have been locked up!! Let me know if you teach this again--would love to sit in!! I also picked up a couple of Jean Rhys' other books and am eager to read them as well!

  2. I know what you mean, Cate -- 100 years ago a lot of us probably would have been locked up! ;) What other Jean Rhys books did you get?