US reviews of Lilian Pizzichini’s biography of Jean Rhys, The Blue Hour, are in following the publication of the book in its American edition. The Chicago Tribune writes that . . .
Lilian Pizzichini’s goal in her new biography, The Blue Hour, is also to rescue Rhys from the caricature of a life of ill repute and drunken dissolution. Yet the question remains: how to write a biography of someone who documented herself so mercilessly in her own novels, stories and the unfinished memoir “Smile Please”? Pizzichini makes the curious decision to write in a rhythmic impressionistic style that tries, and inevitably fails, to mimic Rhys. And it seems an odd choice for Pizzichini to ignore much of the archive, including the published letters or passages of the novels, in favor of her own biographical sketches. Ultimately Pizzichini focuses far too much on the woman Jean Rhys, and not enough on the strange tension between Rhys the woman and Rhys the writer. When Pizzichini writes about the works she does so with insight and empathy, yet passionate readers of Rhys and novitiates will come away wanting more of Rhys in her own words.
For the complete review go to http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/booksmags/chi-tc-books-review-0527-0530may30,0,3498770.story