This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys.

The original Good Morning Midnight (at least, as far as I know it's the original) is a poem by Emily Dickinson, but it's inspired several other works which have been named after it.

Today's Good Morning Midnight is a novel by Jean Rhys. 

Jean Rhys is best known for her last novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, which is famous as a prequel (horrid word, but you know what I mean) to Jane Eyre - and it might well be a prequel to Jane Eyre, though it doesn't work in the way one would expect a sequel to Jane Eyre to work. By this I mean that it's not really about the same characters as Jane Eyre, and it doesn't really set up the plot of Jane Eyre, either.

All Jean Rhys's novels are set in places she knows well. Wide Sargasso Sea is mostly set in the West Indies, but she wrote several in some ways similar books set wholly or partly in Paris: Good Morning Midnight is the last, and often reckoned to be the most successful.

Rhys's Good Morning Midnight is about a loneliness that's only made bearable by drink and destructive relationships...actually, relationship is probably too positive a word for the often cynical dealings that occur between this beginning-to-age woman and the men she encounters. It's a rather murky, desperately sad story, but it's beautifully done, too: sharp and funny and very moving. 

To give you some idea how very good it is, it's even made me wonder if I should go back and try Wide Sargasso Sea again.

Word To Use Today: cynic. This word comes from the Greek kunikos, from ku┼Źn, dog. Cynic also describes anything to do with the Dog Star.

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