Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
Dense foliage of perception
am 1. Juni 2000
The book is undoubtedly not for everyman. It may leave you confused and dazed by the disjointed narrative structure, incomplete dialogues and overpowering images and emotions that seemingly arise out of nowhere and for no reason.
For many readers, a pre-requisite to enjoyment may be an acquaintance with Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. My own view is that this is not entirely necessary but helpful to contextualise the novel. Rhys was fascinated with the mysterious madwoman, the first wife of Rochester, perhaps identifying with her to a degree. However, the fascination in exploring this figure lies not simply in the character's exotic background, misunderstood and exploited as she might be, but the pivotal role she plays in creating a moment of moral ambiguity and crisis within Jane Eyre, the character and the novel.
Wide Sargasso Sea itself is a mire of ambiguities and uncertainties, lurching from one crisis to another. It is interesting to note that the title refers to an area in the Caribbean famous for being treacherous. But what makes it rewarding for the reader is the unadulterated subjectivity of the narration, which is finely structured and layered to both highlight the complexities of issues involved such as (post)colonialism, gender politics and subject identification, as well as to immerse the reader in the disparate/desperate and irreconcilable angles of perception that works itself into a seamlessly hallucinatory reality.
If all of the above sounds like a dream, this is the book for you. Otherwise, it is one to stay well clear of. It may also help to dip into her other books which run along similar themes but are not so 'lush'.