Set in a superficially romantic, between-wars Paris, QUARTET is a poignant tale of a lonely woman. Set against a background of winter-wet streets, Pernod in smoky cafes and cheap hotel rooms with mauve- flowered wallpaper, Marya tries to make something substantial of her life in order to withstand the unreality of her surroundings. Alone, her Polish husband in prison, she is taken up by an English couple who slowly overwhelm her with their passions. Jean Rhys's first novel is both poignant anddisturbingly intimate in its vivid depiction of a woman on her own.
Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1894. Coming to England aged 16, she drifted into various jobs before starting to write in Paris in the late 1920's. QUARTET was first published as 'Postures' in 1928. Her novels, often portraying women as underdogsout to exploit their sexualities, were ahead of their time and only modestly successful. From 1939 she lived reclusively, and was largely forgotten when she made a sensational comeback with 'Wide Sargasso Sea' in 1966. She died in 1979.