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Book Title: Good Morning, Midnight|
The author of the book: Jean Rhys
Date of issue: 1969
ISBN 13: 9780140183436
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 26.73 MB
Edition: Penguin Books
Read full description of the books Good Morning, Midnight:A disaffected, thirty-something guy abandons his wife, moves to Paris and sleeps with some prostitutes. His name is Henry Miller and the book is called Tropic of Cancer.
A disaffected, thirty-something woman, after being abandoned by her husband, goes to Paris and almost sleeps with a gigolo. Her name is Jean Rhys and the book is called Good Morning, Midnight.
As near as I can figure, Miller and Rhys were in Paris at the same time. Maybe they even hung out in the same cafés and bought each other rounds of Pernod. Beyond that, you’d be hard-pressed to find two people more different. Miller looks at the world, sees himself everywhere and shouts, “Fuck, yeah.” Rhys peeks out her window, sees herself everywhere and mutters, “Meh.” Then she crawls back into bed with a bottle of gin and stares at the bugs on the wall.
I’m not convinced Henry Miller is a good role model for the thousands of middle-class boys who read him in late adolescence and are given this incredibly seductive picture of life as an endless bachelor party, with wall-to-wall pussy and intermissions of boozy philosophical chatter. It’s like learning all about girls from that disreputable uncle who used to keep back issues of Penthouse lying out in plain view and who spoke vaguely yet appealingly about Zen Buddhism. You know, the same uncle who was always hitting your parents up for “short-term loans.”
Rhys, then, is the anti-Miller. She’s a gigantic but necessary buzzkill. Where Miller is all about acquisition—of books, women, experiences—Rhys is all about loss. Her fictional alter ego is slowly losing everything: her looks, her faith in humanity, her will to live. There’s no self-pity; just the bitter resignation of someone who, out of pure disgust, has decided to drink herself to death.
Okay, so maybe Rhys isn’t such a great role model either. I could see how her world-view might have the same warping effect on a certain type of girl as Miller’s does on a certain type of boy. But I still say Good Morning, Midnight is a more grown-up book than Tropic of Cancer, just as Rhys’s Paris—glum, bitchy, lower middle-class—is less romanticized than Miller’s Brassai-esque version.
Wisdom would probably consist in finding some middle path between these two poles of egotism, but if I had to choose, I guess I’d take Rhys’s route. I mean, I have no desire to end up a depressive alcoholic in a rented room—though that’s a definite possibility at this point—but that does seem a marginally better fate than becoming a priapic fifty-year-old pontificating about Nietzsche to his cronies.
Or I could get married, move to the suburbs and avoid the whole sordid dilemma. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
Read information about the authorJean Rhys, originally Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams, was a Caribbean novelist who wrote in the mid 20th century. Her first four novels were published during the 1920s and 1930s, but it was not until the publication of Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966 that she emerged as a significant literary figure. A "prequel" to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea won a prestigious WH Smith Literary Award in 1967.
Rhys was born in Dominica (a formerly British island in the Caribbean) to a Welsh father and Scottish mother. She moved to England at the age of sixteen, where she worked unsuccessfully as a chorus girl. In the 1920s, she relocated to Europe, traveling as a Bohemian artist and taking up residence sporadically in Paris. During this period, Rhys lived in near poverty, while familiarising herself with modern art and literature, and acquiring the alcoholism that would persist through the rest of her life. Her experience of a patriarchal society and feelings of displacement during this period would form some of the most important themes in her work.
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