Readers who've not yet read Jane Bowles are almost to be envied, like people who've still to read Mansfield or Woolf, and have all the delight, the shock of classic originality, the revelation of such good writing, still to come.' Ali Smith Eccentric, impulsive New York heiress, Christina Goering meets the anxious but equally unpredictable Mrs Copper- field at a party. Two serious ladies, for whom nothing is natural and anything is possible, they follow their singular paths in search of salvation. Mrs Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, whom she abandons for love of Pacifica, a local prositute, and her brothel home. Miss Goering, for her part, seeks redemption by swapping her mansion for a squalid little house and relishing ever more extreme encounters with strangers. At the end, the two women meet again. First published in 1943, Two Serious Ladies is a true one-off – daring and original, with deadpan humour and devastating insights. It was Jane Bowles's masterpiece.