Dan Sandman

52: Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

In Autobiography, Books, Fiction on 25/12/2015 at 12:00 pm

Voyage in the DarkIt is 1914, Anna is nineteen years old and has moved from the West Indies to London. Like many young people, she is lost in the London without her family. Suffering from a broken heart, Anna turns to the  bottle for comfort. After one bad sexual transaction leads to another, our heroin begins to sink further and further into a deep depression. This book is about one young woman’s voyage from innocence to cold experience.

As Anna tells her story, we are given an intimate view of her private life. Anna allows us to peer into the bedsits she lives in, focussing our attention on her many fears, worries and memories. She is fearful of the cold climate, worried about money, and remembers her West Indian childhood. Such a personal account, based on autobiographical experience, restricts us to viewing Edwardian London from one narrow viewpoint.

Readers will be encouraged to empathise with Anna, and will wish for a happy ending to the book. Despite having many flaws, Anna is only nineteen years old, and her story begins when she is just eighteen. Anna is like so many young people struggling to find decent work today, whilst lining the pockets of dodgy landlords in the bedsits of Camden Town.

All she can do is write.

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