QUARTET by Jean Rhys


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This is Jean Rhys' first novel (1928), not as strong a book as Good Morning, Midnight (1970, p. 131) but firmer in narrative design than Voyage in the Dark. And even if her heroine, always the same haphazard young woman at the loose end of life, is a little younger and to begin with more hopeful, there are other points of similar recognition: Paris, "The unvarying background. Knowing waiters, clouds of smoke, the smell of drink." -- the cafes and little hotels frequented by impermanent drifters, watchers. This time she's Marya who has married the charming if improvident Stephan, now arrested and jailed for selling stolen pictures, leaving her without a centime. She is taken in as a protegee by an English couple, the Heidlers, and quickly becomes a love object for H.J., a hate object for his wife, and the easy victim of both. The story has its own febrile fascination and once again Miss Rhys' dragonfly perceptions skim familiar surfaces (fear, loneliness, abandonment) with a momentary insistence and involvement.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1971
ISBN: 0393315460
Page count: 196pp
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1971


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