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Miss Jane

3.96 based on 2466 ratings & 501 reviews on

2017 Long-listed

The Wellcome Trust Book Prize


03 November 16
552 mins
Tiffany Morgan


'As unexpectedly beguiling as it is affecting.' Daily Mail

Since his award-winning debut collection of stories, Last Days of the Dog-Men, Brad Watson's work has been as melancholy, witty, strange, and lovely as any in America. Inspired by the true story of his own great-aunt, he explores the life of Miss Jane Chisolm, born in rural, early-twentieth-century Mississippi with a genital birth defect that would stand in the way of the central "uses" for a woman in that time and place - namely, sex and marriage.

From the country doctor who adopts Jane to the hard tactile labor of farm life, from the sensual and erotic world of nature around her to the boy who loved but was forced to leave her, the world of Miss Jane Chisolm is anything but barren. Free to satisfy only herself, she mesmerizes those around her, exerting an unearthly fascination that lives beyond her still.

In the media

Brad Watson’s Miss Jane; a bittersweet southern pastoral, the story of a forgotten woman written with unearthly beauty. If Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor had a child, it would be Brad Watson
Here’s a challenge for you this winter: find a book that’s as beautiful as Miss Jane. Wait, don’t bother. It’s impossible . . . From almost the first page of this story of a hard-scrabble life, you’ll find yourself basking in words that set difficulty awash in lushness . . . You’ll just float on the sentences inside this book. Start Miss Jane and kiss your afternoon goodbye.
LGBT Weekly
Watson's accomplishment here is a marvel . . . Miss Jane demonstrates that through the act of imagination we can enter into another person's soul. Such imagination, though, requires ignoring boundaries and limits - including the conventions of gendered genres and gender norms - so that we can fully offer ourselves to the world of love.
Jackson Clarion Ledger