Monday March 16th, 2009

Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles

jane-bowles1Recommended by Dan in Queens, NY.
Two Serious Ladies has been on my list of books to read for ages; after reading it last week, I find myself astonished that I could have lived for so long without it. Bowles’ two ladies and their generally unlikeable acquaintances live in an America that’s as much Kafka’s as anyone else’s; and like his characters, they are passively (and hilariously) swept along by fate. What’s most touching about the book is the obvious amount of respect that Bowles has for her characters: in other hands, they would become monsters, but in her world they calmly march along, impervious to their idiosyncrasies. It’s a short novel, but just about perfect, and I can’t help but wonder why she seems to be popularly known as a footnote to her husband Paul.