Books: Fragments of a Gentle Despair

A LITTLE ORIGINAL SIN: THE LIFE AND WORK OF JANE BOWLES by Millicent Dillon; Holt, Rinehart & Winston; 464 pages; $18.95

When Jane Bowles was just turning 20, she wrote a childhood friend: "Life suddenly seems as short as a pistol shot." She must have meant the good parts. The achievements of her 56 years—a funny, excruciating novel, Two Serious Ladies, a haunted, talky play, In the Summer House, and a handful of short stories—were chiefly completed before she was 30. These bits and fragments of rather gentle despair, jagged as broken glass, brilliant...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!