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Jean Rhys (1890-1979) is the author of Good Morning, Midnight; Voyage in the Dark; After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie; Quartet; and The Collected Short Stories.
This collection rounds out the oeuvre of Rhys, a writer acclaimed for her explication of the female condition. From the highs and lows of her own troubled life, Rhys fashioned stories of women caught in failing relationships, often in lonely rooms in London, Paris or the Caribbean, capturing the essence of their experiences. The 36 stories here include the earliest, from 1927, and those from Sleep It Off Lady, her last collection in 1976. Three short narratives make their first appearance here in book form. Rhys's craft is subtly expressive, producing realistic portraits of women who refuse to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and suffer, in puzzlement, the inevitable consequences. This substantial representation of the works of this eccentric, intriguing writer will please her many devotees. (November 24)
This work gives readers the opportunity to become thoroughly acquainted with one of the most magical short story writers of this century. The stories, told in a quiet, controlled voice and arranged chronologically, mirror Rhys's life. The self-absorbed women she portrays rely on their beauty, charm, and cleverness to get by. They are on the edge of life, longing to be taken care of, seeking love and acceptance. Consequently, the stories sometimes seem dated, but because of Rhys's skill they are always real . For example, ``Till September Petronella'' tells of a woman invited to the country for a weekend by a man who loves her but not quite enough. She drifts on impulse and emotion, both proud and frightened. The way she feels and thinks is given with absolute honesty and clarity, with art so smooth you mistake it for actuality. Highly recommended. Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J.