My Sister’s Hand in Mine: The Collected Works of Jane Bowles

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I was reminded of Jane Bowles again by Chris Kraus mentioning her story Going to Massachusetts. This collection includes that story, along with all of Bowles’ other work, most notably Two Serious Ladies, which I read a few years ago and had silly opinions of. I liked it much better this time, being more in a modernist mood, I suppose. Also, I read her biography last year, highly unsatisfactory, but traces of it shot through me when I was re-reading Ladies today. And bonus, I found when searching “Bowles” on the site that I had read Jane’s hubby Paul’s translation of The Beach Cafe a few months ago.

This collection of all her work is useful, but most of the stories are lumps of clay that sit squat and flat and stare back at you challengingly. It does give one hope and comfort that when you sit down at the writing table each morning to let the pen go willy-nilly, perhaps sometimes it works and sometimes not.