‘A Stick of Green Candy’ by Jane Bowles

Mary plays alone in a clay pit, preparing her regiment of imaginary soldiers for war. She is at that tipping point where her inner life is fracturing under pressure from an adult world she both despises and desires. This beautifully internal and restrained story was the final one in Bowles’ collection, Plain Pleasures. It was also final in another sense. She wrote this in 1949 – and carried on writing for another two decades – but never completed another piece of fiction.

First published in Vogue, 1957, then collected in Plain Pleasures, Peter Owen, 1966. Available to read here

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