When you think of writers who led extraordinary lives while producing great work, Paul and Jane Bowles tend to be two of the names that usually top the list. Although they’re often lumped in with other post-First World War expat American authors, it’s impossible to look at the couple’s work and not think of what came after them — specifically their lives in Tangier, and all of the other people, from the Beats to rock stars to chef/writer/television show hosts, who followed in their footsteps to explore the strange magic that drew the Bowleses there in the first place.
For June, Flavorwire’s Author Club takes on Paul and Jane Bowles — their lives and their work. This was something I was kicking around even before D. Foy picked Paul’s The Delicate Prey as his ultimate summer read; whether I’m on the beach, sitting inside with only a fan to cool me off, or enjoying a drink as the summer sun finally goes away for the day, Bowles is the perfect author for all summer situations.
But if we are going to look at Paul’s work, a proper look at Jane’s 1943 novel, Two Serious Ladies, is just as in order. Still lauded to this day by writers from Nathaniel Rich to Kate Zambreno, Jane’s work deserves just as much consideration as her husband’s, and that’s something that we hope to provide with this month’s series. Obviously, Author Club typically looks at the life and work of a single author, but this time around, we felt that failing to discuss the couple together would have been a disservice to you, as well as to Paul and Jane.