books > Everything is Nice
256pp paperback with flaps
by this author
Everything is Nice
by JANE BOWLES
A unique collection of Jane Bowles’s stories, plays, sketches and letters.
“It’s the truth,” the women said from their mattress. “Everything is nice.”
THIS NEW COLLECTION gathers together all of Jane Bowles’s fictional work; her stories, her plays, the excised sections of Two Serious Ladies (which was originally Three Serious Ladies), fragments of two unfinished novels (Out in the World and Going to Massachussets), and other stories edited from her notebooks by Jane’s husband, Paul Bowles, and her biographer, Millicent Dillon. (Her novel, Two Serious Ladies is published separately by Sort of Books)
From the title story, Everything is Nice, where an American woman is led to a house in a ‘blue moslem town’ by a veiled woman with porcupines in her basket, to Camp Cataract, a Colorado-based tour de force of middle-class claustrophobia and dread, these stories takes you into Jane Bowles’s edgy and exhilarating, tragicomic world. And her play, In the Summer House, included here in full, is a revelation: ‘the most original, the oddest and funniest play – and one of the most touching’, as Tennessee Willliams maintained.
This edition of Jane Bowles’s work also features six letters and a chronology of her life and work.
“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.” Ali Smith
Jane Bowles wrote very little: just one novel – Two Serious Ladies; a play – In the Summer House and just over a dozen short stories, collected together with some notable letters in our edition of Everything is Nice. 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.
The official Paul Bowles website has a number of sections devoted to Jane Bowles, including a short biography by Millicent Dillon (who wrote Jane’s biography and edited her letters), as well as galleries of photographs. And here is a fine assessment of Jane’s work by Chris Power in The Guardian.