Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Illusion" by Jean Rhys

"Illusion"  by Jean Rhys   (1934, 13:43 as a podcast)

 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.

Mel u


Suko said...

Mel, I will need to visit Miettie's site!

I have been away, but now that I'm back I see that you've changed your blog's look--very nice!

tediousandbrief said...

I haven't read anything by her but I think I definitely will have to after reading this post!

* scampers off to see what the local library has by her *

Madeleine said...

Thank-you for Miettie's site, I am off to visit her :))

Marg said...

Thanks for mentioning this podcast. I am always on the look out for good podcasts to listen too!

Mel u said...

Suko-glad as always to see you on my blog!

Marg-this is very good source of podcasts

Madeline-I hope you enjoy Rhys

tediousandbrief -good luck at the library and thanks so much for your comment and visits

shaunag said...

Wonderful post, Mel. She's one of my favourite writers.

shaunag said...

Wonderful post, Mel. She's one of my favourite writers.

Unknown said...

Any idea where I can get the full text of Illusion?

Mel u said...

Aashmika- the only way I know is to buy the Complete Short Stories of Jean Rhys