The Best Women Writers That You've Maybe Never Read

Barbara Comyns Is Not Anyone on Acid

Barbara Comyns is always being compared to writers X, Y or Z “on acid.” The acid part is a cop-out; her voice is clear and direct, even when describing surreal or hyperreal situations, and her crisp descriptions are not kaleidoscopic or druggy in the least. The comparisons to other writers, apt or not, are never a list of her formative influences; she didn’t have any.

Comyns was born in 1909 in a big house on the Avon, fourth of the six children of a drunk father and an indifferent mother. The family managed to be aristocratic and poor at once, but like many aristocrats they [...]


Clearly I Would Offer to Produce Elisa Albert's Baby

The final story in Elisa Albert’s debut collection How This Night Is Different is in the form of a letter to Philip Roth from “Elisa Albert.” In it, the author—or her alter-ego, or whatever—offers to bear the aging, famously childless author a son or daughter. It’s a joke, and it isn’t. It’s hilarious either way. And for (h/t Julie Klausner) Jewish Girls who have considered suicide when Zuckerman Unbound was enuf, reading it produces the uncanny sensation of having had the top of one’s head unscrewed and one’s brain contents poured directly onto a page, which one is somehow then reading. I mean, [...]


The Best Women Writers That You've Maybe Never Read: Sybille Bedford

How would you like your first novel to have been reviewed by Evelyn Waugh in the following terms? "A book of entirely delicious quality… everything is new, cool, witty, elegant… we gratefully salute a new artist."

Janet Flanner ("Genêt" of the New Yorker) had this to say: "An astonishing and fascinating first novel."

And Nancy Mitford said, "I think it one of the very best novels I have ever read."