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The Blue Hour: A Life Of Jean Rhys (2009)

by Lilian Pizzichini(Favorite Author)
3.49 of 5 Votes: 3
0393058034 (ISBN13: 9780393058031)
W. W. Norton & Company
review 1: The Blue Hour is beautifully written and completely engaging. I finished it in two days because I simply couldn't put it down. I kept reading and reading hoping at some point I would come to understand if not like or identify with Jean Rhys. It never happened. This woman is the picture of a plethora of mental illness. Rather than making her sympathetic, her demeanor and her abhorrent behavior made me absolutely detest her. Her childhood was rife with emotional and physical abuse, yes. But at some point your childhood and its tragedies stop being an explanation and start being an excuse. Her pathetic passivity and insistence on playing the victim were infuriating and maddening. I wished more than once that i could reach into the pages of the book and shake her by the shou... morelders until she grew a spine and a conscience. She used and abused everyone she came into contact with and despite her seemingly complete helplessness and pervasive mental instability, she still managed to die in relative comfort. I simply can't wrap my head around how she managed to survive for so long with so little effort at sustaining herself or why so many were so willing to support her for so long. It also seemed that not only was she perfectly willing to accept help and charity from everyone around her, but she felt entitled to it. Despite the repeated assertions of self loathing, I found her cunning and calculating and manipulative to an almost diabolical degree. Still, I was left wanting to read what I can find of her writing if only to determine whether there truly was some genius behind the madness.
review 2: Jean Rhys was an interesting character, and a very thoughtful writer -- she worked incredibly hard, in general and in ensuring that her prose was absolutely clean, to the point that she would only write using single-syllable words. Her relationships, especially with Ford Madox Ford, were pretty depressing. This bio certainly focuses on a fascinating writer, but the writing... weel, it doesn't compare favorably with Rhys's. less
Reviews (see all)
That brittle savage Jean Rhys...as hard to pin to paper as air. This author does a great job.
Jean Rhys used to go to Tiverton to get her alcohol and paperbacks. We have that in common.
Too many typos in this book to overlook. And Jean Rhys was a damn difficult drunk.
This was quite something to read!
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