Charlotte: The Final Journey of Jane Eyre

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9780715630044: Charlotte: The Final Journey of Jane Eyre

A manuscript is discovered which appears to be the conclusion of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre". The unearthed chapters describe a barren marriage, financial ruin, and ultimately, the death of Lord Rochester. Grace Poole, a survivor of the fire at Thornfield Hall, reveals to Jane the final Rochester secret: that a boy was born to the first Mrs Rochester in Martinique. The child was black and subsequently abandoned. As Jane Eyre and Grace Poole board a packet-boat for the Caribbean in search of Rochester's only male heir, and financial future, this novel gives an insight into the hidden eroticism of Bronte's work and deconstructs the Victorian novel. The scene abruptly changes to modern times, when a woman books into a Martinique hotel under the name Charlotte Bronte...

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About the Author:

D.M. Thomas is a poet and the author of several novels, including The White Hotel, which won the P.E.N. Prize and L.A. Times Fiction Prize. He lives in Great Britain, and recently received praise for his biography, Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in his Life.

From Publishers Weekly:

Of the making of sequels and prequels to Jane Eyre, there seems to be no end. Thomas's novel is conscious of the tradition, saluting Jean Rhys as well as Charlotte Bront‰. Miranda Stevenson, the narrator through most of the book, is the daughter of an English eccentric, a scholar and artist who engaged the young Miranda in ambiguous incestuous playacting. Now nearly 40, Miranda is a wife and mother. Having just come out of a "breakdown," she goes to Martinique to recuperate, taking advantage of an offer to give a lecture on Charlotte Bront‰. While there, she satisfies a surreptitiously racist fetish by seducing black men. Miranda's account of her sexual exploits is interspersed with political commentary she is the type who deplores the imperialist, genocidal foundations of Western affluence while relying wholly on the perquisites it gives her. Into this framework, Thomas inserts a continuation of Jane Eyre. This derives from a fraud Miranda perpetrated on her father a long time ago, when she successfully imitated Charlotte Bront‰'s handwriting to pen an account of Jane's brief, unhappy marriage to Rochester. Rochester, it seems, is not entirely satisfactory in bed, and she is finally enlightened about the sexual act by a friend. When Jane confronts Rochester with his sexual reluctance, he rides off into the night and breaks his neck. Unfortunately, Thomas's pastiche of Bront‰ is so dreadful that if Miranda's father were truly an eccentric genius, he'd easily see through it. Miranda's Eurotrash narrative is a variation on Thomas's exploration of the "landscape of hysteria," as in The White Hotel, but the book fails to justify its exploitation of Bront‰'s story and name.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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D.M. Thomas
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