Jean Rhys — Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

No surprises here, this well-known, dark tale of madness in a bitterly divided colonial Jamaica in the nineteenth century, written as a prequel and response to Jane Eyre four years after the country’s independence.

This story of the violent dark legacy of colonialism and madness driven by accumulated cruelty and suffering is still very much relevant today. The heroines hopes and good intentions wrecked by cynical and venal colonial men. In love with the nature of her island, she is a contrast to the man who is bribed to marry her, who grows to hate the tropical climate. While he drives her mad, he too is damaged by his role as the oppressor.

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