- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (July 11, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780393354386
- ISBN-13: 978-0393354386
- ASIN: 0393354385
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 178 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.74 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Miss Jane: A Novel Paperback – July 11, 2017
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Watson infuses the story with curiosity, uncertainty, and, not unlike Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, a certain wildness…The book plays on the tongue like an oyster―first salty, then cold―before slipping away to be consumed and digested.”
- Aditi Sriram, Washington Post
“A story worth telling even as it breaks your heart.”
- Amy Brady, Chicago Review of Books
“[Jane’s] fearless acceptance of what sets her apart is profoundly human, and her lifelong struggle to understand her place in the world reflects the intricate workings of our own mysterious hearts.”
- Gina Webb, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Watson has done something extraordinary here. This is not grit-lit...But it is Southern literature, nevertheless: fresh, new, without cliché. Watson may be our best.”
- Don Noble, Alabama Writers' Forum
“An exceptionally well written book. The prose was beautiful and the novel had a gentleness about it...I loved this book for its simplicity and would highly recommend it.”
- Meredith Kelly, Luxury Reading
“As Watson arcs through the story of Jane’s life in sensitive, beautifully precise prose, we are both absorbed and humbled.”
- Library Journal (starred)
“A well-written portrait of a person whose rich inner life outstrips the limits of her body.”
- Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Brad Watson teaches creative writing at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. His first collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men, won the Sue Kauffman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts & Letters; his first novel, The Heaven of Mercury, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and his Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-4 of 178 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Comparisons between the two novels should stop there. Miss Jane is not in any way derivative, and in fact Watson has drawn on the true life experiences of his own Great Aunt who suffered from the condition described in the novel. The result is a heartfelt exploration of loneliness, acceptance and happiness expertly guided by a taut prose that seems to own the language and experience of those times.
I don’t plan to reveal any more about Jane’s problem except to say that is a congenital anomaly of the genitals. I felt that Watson purposefully held back on the details, adding them bit by bit as the novel progressed, and this slow reveal of the diagnosis and its prognosis gave me some sense of the uncertainty, melancholy and mystery that Jane (and her real life model) must have felt in earlier times.
One of the great strengths of this novel is its look at early 20th century medicine. Watson accomplishes this through the character of a sage, country doctor who has spurned the big hospitals and East Coast opportunities of his medical school colleagues and has chosen to remain in the south, serving mostly the poor. In one of the novel’s opening and most interesting scenes, this Dr. Thompson comes home tired and a bit intoxicated to find his porch full of several of the county’s afflicted. This scene alone would make the book worth reading, especially the man gone blind after being struck in the head with a shovel by his wife (who accompanies him and assures the doctor her husband deserved it). These scenes are powerful and more than once they inspired comparisons to Steinbeck and to some extent Stegner.
While the cast of characters here is not large, all are strong and interesting and serve to make Watson’s points well. In addition to the bright and engaging Jane and the magnanimous Dr. Thompson, there is Jane’s father, the self made man become world weary who makes a legendary apple brandy, and her mother a melancholy and distant woman who never got over the death of her third child. Grace, her sister is a rebel looking for the quickest way off of the farm even at the young age of 9. When the depression hits, it exaggerates the flaws in each of these characters and Jane becomes in many ways the most stable part of their family.
In another great scene, Jane’s mother exasperated and saddened seeks out a local fortune teller. She asks the seer, “will my daughter ever be normal?” Her answer, “no, but she’ll be happy. Happier than you.” That prediction is a tidy summation of the novel itself. We spend so much time hurting for Jane, putting ourselves in her shoes or even worse, putting our children in her shoes and we want to fix her. And don’t get me wrong, Jane wants a solution to her problem too. But instead of yielding to the melancholy her family is certain she should feel and the reader feels she should feel, she gets on with the business of living.
Miss Jane is a contemplative novel that takes long and deliberate looks at the human condition including loneliness and sadness, love, self worth, adversity and happiness among a great many others. At one point, Jane’s father, late in his life and with the angst of a parent who knows he did not deliver his best for his child apologizes to Jane for his role in her condition. She calms him saying, “I’m fine. I know who I am, and I know how to live with that.” We’d all do well to arrive in that same place and Miss Jane is a beautifully written vehicle that leads the reader down the path Jane takes to get there.
Note: Free ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley
Sidenote: If you are into cover art, this is among the year’s best. It actually becomes more meaningful as the novel progresses, something I thought was unique.
However, young Jane has the benefit of the friendship of the doctor who delivered her. He is the outlier in the town just outside of where she lives. Checking on her regularly, he has taken her under his wing.
While Jane endures physical challenges and seems to miss out on many of life’s pleasures, she is more in tune with many other senses that others might take for granted or perhaps, never even notice. She embraces her situation for what it is. She is not looking for special treatment, for sympathy or for anything to change. There are numerous lessons to learn from both the young and older Jane. Her eyes are wide open to the earth where she walks, the dirt in her garden that allows her vegetables to grow, and the farm animals that she likes for who they are rather than as nourishment. She knows love on an otherworldly level. And, she is one fearless lady.