Shopping Cart



Day 29

Villette by Charlotte Brontë


December 13, 2022 by Yiyun Li

A chapter titled “Cloud” follows the chapter “Sunshine.” After a fairytale of ever after we enter the enchanted dark forest. The febrile scene at the midnight fête is rather disturbing, even when a reader is not drugged.

Lucy Snowe finds the midnight fête “in a land of enchantment,” featuring all the characters, from her godmother to Paulina to Bretton to Madame Beck and her associates. Lucy, alone invisible to most, is a disenchanted and disenchanting ghost.

Madame Beck and her group make “the secret junta”: “But, as yet, I was not dead.” The novel has such a dark undercurrent. I love a novel that is not comforting or enchanting or reassuring.

Sign up for A Public Space's Newsletter