Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner / ISBN 9780940322165 / 232-page paperback from NYRB Classics
In Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner tells of an aging spinster's struggle to break way from her controlling family—a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while adding a dimension of the supernatural and strange. Warner is one of the outstanding and indispensable mavericks of twentieth-century literature, a writer to set beside Djuna Barnes and Jane Bowles, with a subversive genius that anticipates the fantastic flights of such contemporaries as Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson.
"It completely blindsided me: Starting as a straightforward, albeit beautifully written family saga, it tips suddenly into extraordinary, lucid wildness.”--Helen Macdonald
"I wish I could understand how fluidly [Lolly Willows] handles times and how it manages to be both utterly savage and strangely gentle at once. The turns of phrase that gleam on every page often seem nearly miraculous to me."—Garth Greenwell, LitHub
Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893–1978) was a poet, short-story writer, and novelist, as well as an authority on early English music and a member of the Communist Party. Her first novel, Lolly Willowes (available from NYRB Classics), appeared in 1926 and was the first ever Book-of-the-Month Club selection. Over the course of her long career, Warner published six more novels, seven books of poetry, a translation of Proust, fourteen volumes of short stories, and a biography of T.H. White. NYRB also publishes her novels Mr. Fortune, Summer Will Show and The Corner That Held Them.