Book Review: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)

Wide Sargasso SeaWide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few years ago, I happened to have a chat with an old friend. We were catching up after a long time and like most friends do, we picked up our favorite teen (innocent) crimes to gorge on. One of our best memoirs was of those sprints we made to the nearby movie hall to grab the tickets of a show at the penultimate minute of the show time. And we were suddenly overcome by the desire to relive those days. Since I was visiting her city, I let her choose the movie hall and the movie. She quipped that a certain film festival was running at one of the city’s best multiplexes and we could sneak in a show there. We checked the showtimes on their website, chose a show of a well acclaimed, classic movie that was a mere 20 minutes from commencement and yes, sprinted.

Upon reaching the multiplex, we somehow managed to get two tickets at the kiosk and were all gung-ho about re-experiencing the teen charms. And that is where all my sprinting took; the finishing line drawn there. The next two hours or so drew different pictures on our faces – On my friend’s face, there was a light glow of joy, a slim smile slipping from either side of her lips, confirming the allure of romance that the lead couple on screen was trying so hard to keep together from falling apart. I turned my head this way and that and found most faces with similar face paint; a dizzying bunch of clones swaying on emotional ripples. Perhaps mine was the only face in the entire hall that bore a different countenance; the couple’s sensuality seemed an act which effectively muted any adrenaline rush and my face color remained the same; their differences, although meaningful, seemed imbued in sepia tones, putting a distant feel to the struggles brought therein and my eyes didn’t look strained to go behind the camera and touch the personal efforts; their conversations sounded jarred, as if one had break-opened a room swamped by flood but the cacophony emanating from multiple complainants, all at once, sapped the savior of his compassion. I managed to sat through the movie hoping the climax might redeem the work which I was supposed to like. But alas! it was not to be and I exited the hall with a sad heart. Once out, my friend, with a quivering happy voice and bouncy eyebrows, asked me what I felt about the movie. I sheepishly ended up saying: “I didn’t understand most of its subtle meaning. I need to see it again.” And I didn’t mean the second line.

It was déjà vu, the movie buff meeting her bibliophile avatar.

Contemplation (1)

 

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