After Leaving Mr Mackenzie- Jean Rhys

“It was the darkness that got you. It was heavy darkness, greasy and compelling. It made walls round you, and shut you in so that you felt you could not breathe. You wanted to beat at the darkness and shriek to be let out. And after a while you got used to it. Of course. And then you stopped believing that there was anything else anywhere.”

My third Rhys and I feel that her female protagonists aren’t the most likeable characters but they are human so quite relatable. At least it’s very easy to remember that they are human and to feel for what they’re going through.

There was so much despair in this book and it was easy to spot the feminist threads. Julie, a woman who married to be free is trying hard to make it in Paris. Reliance on men,and fears of getting older and so on all make her think, “My life’s like death. It’s like being buried alive. It isn’t fair, it isn’t fair.”

There always seems to be a feeling of impending doom in the book. This is a book of broken dreams, of disappointments, of unfairness, where the value of a woman is apparently on the decline after age 30. But it was a great book that had me transfixed enough to read in one sitting.


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