Tuesday, March 06, 2007
19. "Wide Sargasso Sea" ~ Jean Rhys
Antoinette lives on a plantation in Jamaica during the early nineteenth century, a time when the Emancipation Act of 1833 caused financial ruin to many slave owners. Freed blacks still worked for some families, but they were considered "black Englishmen" and their bosses "white niggers."
An angry mob burns down Antoinette's home, leaving her bound for the only safe haven - the convent.
The next section or "book" is told from the perspective of Antoinette's nameless husband. Desperate for money, he agreed to the marriage quickly for the dowry. He believes she is crazy, which proves to be an apt perception as Antoinette's voice returns at the end of the novella.
The first ten pages steamed with details about Jamaica, its vegetation, its wildlife. Then, suddenly, it drops off, and other than the occasional seashore vista, the book could have easily been in scene elsewhere.
2.5 out of 5.0 Jamaican Yo-Yo.