The book I give as a gift is the novel TWO SERIOUS LADIES by Jane Bowles. Her sentences are so surprising, the plot is like something from a dream, and her mind is deeply unfathomable, precise, funny, earnest and otherworldly. It feels like giving someone an exotic fruit.
Readers who've not yet read Jane Bowles are almost to be envied, like people who've still to read Austen or Mansfield or Woolf, and have all the delight, the literary satisfaction, the shock of classic originality, the revelation of such good writing, still to come.
A modern legend ... A very funny writer ... with at [her] heart the subtlest comprehension of eccentricity and human apartness.
My favourite book. I can't think of a modern novel that seems more likely to become a classic.
One of the finest modern writers of fiction in any language.
A landmark in 20th century American literature.
With TWO SERIOUS LADIES, Bowles joined the small company of women modernists who celebrated their freakishness in the highest style.
A thoroughly original mind - a mind at once profoundly witty, genuinely unusual in its apprehensions, and bracingly, humanely true.