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Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Defenseless, willing to run away from this and everything, every moment of living chased and cursed by unkindness, condescension and mockery. It is not melancholy that drives Sasha, it is utter despair, and how a person with this little connection to life keeps living is beyond explanation. Like Dostoevsky, Rhys uses the topos of the underground to represent her protagonist's retreat from hostile society into a private, subjective realm. In first person narration Sasha brings her world to life, gives us the skinny on why things are in fact as bad as they seem.

She wrote a half-dozen novels, most of which, Wikipedia tells us (like this one), portray a mistreated, dumped, rootless woman inhabiting cheap hotels. Facebook sets this cookie to show relevant advertisements to users by tracking user behaviour across the web, on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin. The center of the novel is her fragmented subjective experience of the circumstances accompanied by pain so overbearing it is accompanied by deep disorientation - of who you are, where are you going, what are you supposed to do, and even the meaning of your life. Yes, I do see some of myself in her, but it’s more like looking at my reflection in a dirty, cracked mirror. I felt much pity for Sasha, after all she goes through, and this was the defining turning point for me when it comes to female protagonists.Her everywoman heroine, Sasha, must confront the loves― and losses― of her past in this mesmerizing and formally daring psychological portrait.

The book seemed to me to capture very well the mood swings of an alcoholic woman in difficult and impoverished circumstances in the period setting - but from a bohemian point of view. There are some great lines, for example, things like “there must be the dark background to show up the bright colours. Since I was born, hasn't every word I've said, every thought I've thought, everything I've done, been tied up, weighted, chained? You jump in with no willing and eager friends around, and when you sink you sink to the accompaniment of loud laughter.My life, which seems simple and monotonous, is really a complicated affair of cafés where they like me and cafés where they don't, streets that are friendly, streets that aren't, rooms where I might be happy, rooms where I never shall be, looking glasses I look nice in, looking glasses I don't, dresses that will be lucky, dresses that won't, and so on.

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