I first read Jean Rhys in college, Voyage in the Dark, in a modernism class. It's funny: I wasn't crazy about the class itself (it was fine), but I adored practically everything we read: Mrs. Dalloway, Women in Love, Portrait of an Artist, The Waste Land. And Jean Rhys. I loved Rhys. Particularly her language: so direct and blunt it was disarming -- the only way, really, to communicate life's harsh, absurd cruelties.
After discussing Wide Sargasso Sea over pumpkin waffles and mimosas, I went to see Julia Leigh's Sleeping Beauty, about a perpetually broke college student (Lucy, played by Emily Browning) who takes a job as a Sleeping Beauty, a prostitute whose clients pay to do anything to her while she is in a drug-induced slumber. The movie seemed like something a young Jean Rhys would have created if she lived today and made films.