Two Serious Ladies
by Jane Bowles
First published in 1943, Two Serious Ladies is a true one-off – daring and original, with deadpan humour and devastating insights. It was Jane Bowles’s masterpiece.
Jane Bowles wrote very little: just this one novel (published when she was twenty-six), a play (In the Summer House), and a dozen or so short stories.
But it was enough to establish a reputation as one of the twentieth century’s most original fiction writers.
Born Jane Auer, in New York City in 1917, she married the author Paul Bowles – somewhat impulsively, as both pursued primarily same-sex relationships. They were nonetheless devoted companions, living in Tangier, in adjoining apartments.
At the age of 40, Jane Bowles suffered a debilitating stroke, which brought an early end to her writing. She died in 1973.
“My favourite book. I can’t think of a modern novel that seems more likely to become a classic..” Tennessee Williams
“One of the finest modern writers of fiction in any language ... no other writer can consistently produce surprise of this quality, the surprise that is the one essential ingredient of great art. Jane Bowles deals almost exclusively in this rare commodity.”John Ashberry
“A landmark in 20th century American literature.” Alan Sillitoe
“Readers who’ve not yet read Jane Bowles are almost to be envied, like people who’ve still to read Mansfield or Woolf, and have all the delight, the shock of classic originality, the revelation of such good writing, still to come.” Ali Smith
“One of the original prose stylists.” Truman Capote