Difficult Women, the book with which David Plante made his name, presents three portraits-each one of them as detailed, textured, and imposing as the those of Lucian Freud-of three extraordinary, complicated, and, yes, difficult women, while also raising intriguing and in their own way difficult questions about the character and motivations of the keenly and often cruelly observant portraitist himself. The book begins with Plante's portrait of Jean Rhys in her old age, when after years of silence that had left her great novels of the 1920s and '30s virtually unknown, she published The Wide Sargasso Sea and became a minor celebrity. Rhys, however, can hardly be said to be enjoying her new success. A terminal alcoholic, she curses and staggers and rants in the hotel room she has chosen to live in like King Lear on the heath, while Plante looks impassively on. Sonia Orwell is Plante's second subject, a suave exploiter and hapless victim of her beauty and social prowess, while the unflappable, brilliant, and impossibly opinionated Germaine Greer sails through the final pages of Plante's book, ever ready to set the world, and any erring companion, right.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 10 / 2017