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Miss Jane

3.96 based on 2525 ratings & 508 reviews on Goodreads.com

2017 Long-listed

The Wellcome Trust Book Prize

Synopsis

'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 has been an aspiring movie star, a garbage collector, a digger of ditches, a bartender, a professor, and much more... He can now add masterful novelist to that list . . . [Watson's] first novel, The Heaven of Mercury, slayed the critics, garnering praise from practically all corners . . . firmly establishing Watson's place as a major American writer . . . Miss Jane . . . takes Watson's writing to new heights . . . Miss Jane is an especially timely novel for right now, when so much of our turmoil is dependent on how we view the Other, whether it be because of race, sexuality, religion, or where someone was born. It's also a novel that thrums with beauty, melancholy, and desire.
Salon
Using language that is both candid and askew, Watson describes the quiet, often solitary life of a girl born in 1915 in rural Mississippi with a genital defect
Washington Post
[An] ambitious, touching novel
New York Times