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Lead book review

Disregarded for decades, Jean Rhys stayed true to her vision of life

Jean Rhys lived a vagabond life – but she wrote about gloom and squalor with luminous purity and a poet’s care, says Lucasta Miller

7 May 2022

9:00 AM

7 May 2022

9:00 AM

I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys Miranda Seymour

William Collins, pp.448, 25

Jean Rhys, who died at the age of 88 in 1979, lived to be forgotten and rediscovered. Like many readers, I first came across her through her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, which imagines the pre-history of Jane Eyre’s ‘madwoman in the attic’, the Creole heiress married off to Mr Rochester and then incarcerated by him at Thornfield Hall.

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