John Ashbery, reviewing The Collected Works of Jane Bowles back in 1967, wrote: 'in all her work, it is impossible to deduce the end of a sentence from its beginning, or a paragraph from the one that preceded it, or how one of the characters will reply to another. And yet the whole flows marvelously and inexorably to its cruel, lucid end.' This, I think, is the essence of Jane Bowles' very particular gift: each page gives the reader a succession of surprises, while maintaining an irresistible momentum. Two Serious Ladies is certainly not an ingratiating novel: it's something much more rewarding. This is a fine edition of a remarkable book.
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