Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top 10 books in which things end badly

Richard Gwyn is Director of the MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. His books include The Colour of a Dog Running Away, Deep Hanging Out, and The Vagabond’s Breakfast.

In 2007 at the Guardian he named ten books in which things end badly, including:
The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

We know that Antoinette becomes Bertha in Jane Eyre. There could not be a greater difference than the one between her sun-filled life in Jamaica to the gloomy grey landscape of England, where she is locked away in her husband, Rochester's home. But is she really mad or merely an inconvenience to her husband? Perhaps, too, typically of Victorian men, he is scared of women, or at least of their perceived psychic menace. The book carries an ominous sense of dread or foreboding, as though Antoinette/Bertha's destiny is already set, and measured here in a beautiful, darkly poetic language. When I was a boy there was a TV adaptation of Jane Eyre, broadcast, I seem to remember, early on a Sunday evening, the most truly dire hour of day to be growing up in cold, damp Britain.
Read about another entry on the list.

Wide Sargasso Sea is one of Elise Valmorbida's top ten books on the migrant experience.

--Marshal Zeringue