[The book] I ll be pressing into people s hands forever is Lolly Willowes, the 1926 novel by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It tells the story of a woman who rejects the life that society has fixed for her in favor of freedom and the most unexpected of alliances. It completely blindsided me: Starting as a straightforward, albeit beautifully written family saga, it tips suddenly into extraordinary, lucid wildness. - Helen Macdonald in "The New York Times Book Review"'s By the Book."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."
Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893 1978) was a poet, short-story writer, and novelist, as well as an authority on early English music and a devoted member of the Communist Party. Her many books include"Mr. Fortune s Maggot"and"Lolly Willows"(both published byNYRBClassics), "The Corner that Held Them," and"Kingdoms of Elfin." Alison Lurie is a former Professor of English at Cornell. Her most recent novel is"Truth and Consequences.""