Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast
I was totally amazed by The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1890 to 1979-Dominica, British West Indies). There is a savage beauty in her prose that transcends Victorian school master approved prose. Don't get me started on Rhys but it is as if she met the devil and invited him for a drink, rum and coke, and it was he who left the encounter the wiser if not the richer. I also read and posted on an interesting biography of Rhys, The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys by Lillian Pizzichini. Jean Rhys went through some very hard times in her life, mostly her problems were her own fault. Not a saintly woman by any standard, she was for a period a street walker in the rough areas of London and Paris. She has other options such as regular jobs or wealthy men (she was a stunning beauty) but in truth she preferred to walk the streets as she never knew what might happen next. Later in life she was one of those crazy old women you turn away from when you see them in the streets of the big city.
The premier source for literary podcasts of short stories is Miette's Bedtime Story Podcasts. I have posted about the wonderful and beautiful resource she has creating before. Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast has online 100s of literary quality short stories as podcasts. The selection is just brilliant including some items you will be shocked to see. Miette has been posting podcasts for four years now and her webpage has a strong personal feel and reflects a deep love and appreciation of the short story as an art form. Miette has a beautiful speaking voice. She does her posts at home and sometimes you can hear her dog barking in the background and the doorbell or phone ringing but this just added to the charm for me.
Recently I listened to her podcast of one of the short stories of Jean Rhys from years ago and I noticed that a bit of the ending seemed missing but I as not sure on this so I asked her about this. I was so happy and grateful when I found Miette has redone the whole story in response to my cheeky comment.
I think Jean Rhys, who I almost feel like I know, would have loved Miette's reading of the story. Basically "Illusion" is a kind of pastiche of bits and pieces of the life of an English woman working in Paris as a painter. When I listened to the story (I listened to it three times and will do so again soon) I thought it almost sounded like Rhys was talking about the life she wished she could have had in Paris. The central female character is described as someone you could be intimate with but never really know, just like Rhys made herself become.
I am so grateful for what Miette says in the podcast about The Reading Life.
There are lots of places to hear podcasts of short stories but only Mittie's Bedtime Story Podcast is recommended by The Reading Life.
Please share your experience with Jean Rhys with us.