Janet Lewis was a novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose literary career spanned almost the entire twentieth century. The New York Times has praised her novels as "some of the 20th century's most vividly imagined and finely wrought literature." Born and educated in Chicago, she lived in California for most of her adult life and taught at both Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. Her works include The Wife of Martin Guerre (1941), The Trial of Soeren Qvist (1947), The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron (1959), Good-Bye, Son and Other Stories (1946), and Poems Old and New (1982). Kevin Haworth's novel The Discontinuity of Small Things was winner of the Samuel Goldberg Prize for best Jewish fiction and finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Price. He teaches writing at Ohio University and serves as executive editor of Ohio University Press/Swallow Press.
"One of the most significant short novels in English."
"Lewis wrote her vibrant novella in 1941 as the first in her Cases of Circumstantial Evidence trilogy, which Swallow Press has brought back into print. The mystery here is not Martin's identity, but why Janet Lewis remains obscure."
"Flaubertian in the elegance of its form and the gravity of its style."
"Ohio University Press/Swallow Press is reissuing all three novels in Lewis's Cases of Circumstantial Evidence series in new editions with fancy new covers. They're gorgeous."
"One of (the short novel's) most perfect examples is Janet Lewis's The Wife of Martin Guerre." -- Michael Dirda
"When the literary history of the second millennium is written at the end of the third, in the category of dazzling American short fiction (Janet Lewis's) Wife of Martin Guerre will be regarded as the 20th century's Billy Budd and Janet Lewis will be ranked with Herman Melville."
"A relentless and draining novel sans merci, all the way to its ruthless end."
"The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis is one of the most resonant short novels I can remember. I greatly like two other books she wrote: The Trial of Soren Qvist and The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron. She never got the attention she deserved." -- Evan S. Connell, Jr.
"Lewis skillfully builds up Bertrande's growing conviction: it has a quality of a horror story, a stranger in her bed. Is she crazy? Is she sinning? She determines that she cannot continue in this way."
"One of the last century's great novels."
"Janet Lewis brings the haunting qualities of fable to this novella, based on a legal case that attracted wide attention in 16th-century France and has continued to fascinate down through the years." -- Ron Hansen