Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys

This book has been hanging about waiting to be read for a few years now and it’s also on my Classics Club list, so after reading about Jean Rhys in the Guardian on Saturday I thought it was time to give it a dust down and read it.

Good Morning, Midnight was first published in 1939 and is part of a Quartet, in fact it’s the last one and I haven’t read the others, I seem to be reading books all out of order at the moment, annoyingly.

It’s the story of Sophia Jansen, a middle aged English woman who had lived in Paris for some time as a young woman. She has been given some money to go to Paris to revisit some of her old haunts. She’s on a slippery slope as she has a drink problem and knows that everyone is talking about her when she is drinking in cafes, she isn’t one of the regulars and she isn’t welcome. She’s too old and the city has changed, and when she does look back on her earlier days there, her memories aren’t good ones.

What can I say? The book is well written, although there is quite a lot of French in it so you might find it difficut if you don’t know any French. But it’s just not an uplifting read, in fact it could be quite depressing, especially as I’ve calculated that she is probably only supposed to be about 40, maybe not even that, and she’s regarded as very much past it. I can see why it didn’t sell very well.

On the bright side, it’s on The Classics Club list so I’m one closer to reaching the end, but it’s still a very long list. Have a look.

1. Deerslayer by J. Fenimore Cooper
2. Uther and Igraine by Warwick Deeping
3. Heroes by Thomas Carlyle
4. The Lady of the Camelias by Alexandre Dumas
5. Swan Song by John Galsworthy
6. End of the Chapter by John Galsworthy
7. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
8. Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
9. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
10. The Talisman by Walter Scott
11. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
12. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
13. Nana by Emile Zola
14. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
15. The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope
16. The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
17. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
18. The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett
19. Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett
20. The Naulahka by Rudyard Kipling and W. Balestier
21. O Pioneer! by Willa Cather
22. Moby Dick by Hermann Melville
23. The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
24. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
25. An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym
26. The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
27. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
28. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
29. The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
30. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
31. Witch Wood by John Buchan
32. The Courts of the Morning by John Buchan
33. The Gap in the Curtain by John Buchan
34. Love by Elizabeth von Arnim
35. The Corn King and the Spring Queen ny Naomi Mitchison
36. Good Morning Midnight by Jean Rhys
37. A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford
38. Poor Caroline by Winifred Holtby
39. The World my Wilderness by Rose Macaulay
40. Salem Chapel by Mrs Oliphant
41. The Republic by Pliny
42. The Harsh Voice by Rebecca West
43. Chatterton Square by E.H. Young
44. Not So Quiet by Hellen Zenna Smith
45. The Tenth Man by Graham Greene
46. The Third Man by Graham Greene
47. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
48. White Fang by Jack London
49. The Box Office Murders by Freeman Wills Crofts
50. Inspector French’s Greatest Case by Freeman Wills Crofts
51. Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts
52. Man Overboard by Freeman Wills Crofts
53. Mystery on Southampton Water by Freeman Wills Crofts
54. The Hog’s Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts
55. Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

4 thoughts on “Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys

  1. I notice we have a lot of the same unread books! I toying with the idea of tackling Moby Dick this summer (might have a trip to New England, so that would tie it).

    And you have two on your list that I absolutely loved! First, The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett — I’d never heard of it until I saw it on the Modern Library list and I picked it up on a whim at the library. I could not put it down!!

    Second, Decline and Fall by Waugh — hilarious satire. I’ve loved some Waugh and hated some, and this was my favorite. I think I’m due for a re-read.

    • Karen,
      I’ve been going to read The Old Wives’ Tale ever since you first mentioned it. I bought the book but think I might read it on my Kindle as the bookprint isn’t great. I’m hoping to get around to it soon, but I was at the library today – took five books out, all blogger recommendations too. I’ll have to set aside more reading time!

  2. I like Jean Rhys, her writing is stimulating and clever, but her books will put you in a funk. I’ve read most of her novels and a biography and find her fascinating.
    I really need to revisit my Classics Club list – I’ve severely neglected it lately.

    • Anbolyn,
      I must read her biography, I’m intrigued that she ended up living in Cornwall, it seems so unlikely somehow. I’m hoping to get through that list by the time I’m 55, which is in about 15 months – some hope!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *