The Girls (Paperback)

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The Girls By John Bowen Cover Image

The Girls (Paperback)

$18.00


On Our Shelves Now
6 on hand, as of Jul 19 10:06pm
(Fiction)

Staff Reviews


At the recommendation of a customer, I picked up this weird little novel and to my utter delight I loved every single second of it. A darkly funny and deeply macabre story about two cottage core lesbians who end up brutally murdering a visitor/former lover/father of their child and the town that seems completely unbothered by the crime.

— Katie

A wry, macabre tale of simple country living, brutal murder, and a reasonably happy couple, from our “most startlingly offbeat suspense novelist” (Gore Vidal).

In their lovely old Cotswolds village, Janet and Susan are known to all the other villagers as “the girls”—a fixture. Partners in love and work, co-proprietors of a picturesque shop specializing in the work of local artisans and farmers, they lead an enviable, enviably settled life.

So it’s no catastrophe when Sue, the younger of the two, feels the need to take a month to travel on her own, leaving Jan alone to run their stall at the Inland Waterways Rally Craft Fair. Nor is it any real threat when a kindly gay man named Alan lends Jan a hand in Sue’s absence, or when the two wind up sharing some wine and even a bunk for the night.

If Jan turns out to be pregnant some weeks after Sue’s return to the nest, what’s that but cause for joy? And when Alan happens to come visiting, by and by, finding the delighted girls raising a beautiful baby boy, who can blame him for wanting to share in a small part of their bliss?

Yes, theirs is an enviable, enviably settled life. And the girls will defend it with every tool at their disposal.
John Bowen (1924–2019) was born in what was then Calcutta, India, before being sent to England at the age of four to be reared by an uncle and aunt. He worked in journalism and advertising while publishing his first novels, including the apocalyptic After the Rain, then began a successful career writing for the stage and for television, including the much-lauded folk-horror “Play for Today” Robin Redbreast (1970).
Product Details ISBN: 9781946022707
ISBN-10: 1946022705
Publisher: McNally Editions
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English
“Of all the writers of suspense novels, John Bowen is the most startlingly offbeat: politely he leads you down the garden path—look at the roses, he murmurs, the dismembered foot, the Victorian teahouse which contains . . . satisfying horror!”
— Gore Vidal

“The trappings of this sly little novel are like the crumbs leading Hansel and Gretel to gingerbread danger . . . [For] people who like Myra Breckinridge as well as Miss Marple; fans of Beryl Bainbridge, Russell Greenan and Patricia Highsmith; those who feel Barbara Pym-ish on some days and Stephen King-ish on others.” 
— Michele Slung

“Absolutely wicked.” 
 
— Armistead Maupin

“The reissued paperback of this cozy, pitch-black comedy sports the same Edward Gorey illustration that decorated the original hardcover when it was published in 1986. It’s perfect: deadpan, sly, and threatening, just like this very funny, very weird novel . . . I’m sure I’m not the only reader who thought of this book as his own secret, to be recommended only to the most unusual of friends, but now it’s back in the world and will hopefully garner the cult audience it deserves.”
— Dan Kois

“The reissued paperback of this cozy, pitch-black comedy sports the same Edward Gorey illustration that decorated the original hardcover when it was published in 1986. It’s perfect: deadpan, sly, and threatening, just like this very funny, very weird novel . . . I’m sure I’m not the only reader who thought of this book as his own secret, to be recommended only to the most unusual of friends, but now it’s back in the world and will hopefully garner the cult audience it deserves.”
— Dan Kois

“An unqualified delight . . . Bowen rates superlatives for his alternately moving, frightening, hilarious novel and—above all—for the unsuspected, ultimate surprise.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is a charming little novel about two women who share a home, a garden, and later, a baby. What happens when the accidental father returns? Fans of Patricia Highsmith and Edward Gorey (whose delightful designs adorn the cover) should like The Girls.”
—San Francisco Bay Times