October, 2013: The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

(Book #42) We put our newest member right to work — Chris hosted this gathering. For dinner we had the most delicious mini-pumpkins filled with cheese, cream and sage, a salad and shrimp creole. For dessert we had a chocolate cake which did not come of the bundt pan as it should have and had to be smushed back together as Chris reported it. Regardless of its shape or how it was encouraged to maintain that shape, it was decadent and delicious.

Some critics of the book described it as having a hallucinatory quality and we were all in agreement with that. Susan felt that the language didn’t fit the period and several of us thought that it was an unusual exercise to write a prequel for Jane Eyre. I mentioned most of those things in my review on Goodreads:

I read somewhere that Joyce Carol Oates suggested that Wide Sargasso Sea is more “hallucinatory prose poem” than it is novel. That was clearly how it read for me but it wasn’t necessarily pleasurable in that regard. While I was able to determine who was telling the story at any given time, I wasn’t enamored with the narrator switching. Plot changes are abrupt and rationale elusive. Why does Antoinette’s husband begin to call her Bertha except for the reason that she is transitioning into the mad wife in the attic in Jane Eyre.