The Duchess of Angus
Midcentury novel follows a young woman's coming of age in South Texas
Written in the 1950s and discovered by family members years after her death, Margaret Brown Kilik’s shocking coming-of-age novel of the emotional and sexual brutality of young women’s lives in wartime San Antonio deserves a place on the shelf alongside classic novels like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding.
The Duchess of Angus reworks Kilik’s unusual personal history (her mother spent the 1930s running flophouse hotels all over the United States, leaving Margaret to be brought up by a host of relatives) into a riveting portrait of a young woman navigating a conflicted and rapidly changing world, one in which sex promises both freedom from convention and violent subjection to men’s will. Strikingly modern in its depiction of protagonist Jane Davis and her gorgeous, unreadable friend Wade Howell, The Duchess of Angus covers some of the same emotional territory as novels like Emma Cline’s The Girls and Robyn Wasserman’s Girls on Fire.
Includes an introduction by Jenny Davidson and contextual essays by Laura Hernández-Ehrisma and Char Miller.
“Utterly absorbing as both a character study and as a transmission from a lost era.”
— David Liss, author of The Devil’s Company
“A time capsule back to 1940’s San Antonio, Texas. Jane Davis is earnest, confused, and wonderfully headstrong as she confronts a changing, inhospitable world…Her story still resonates.”
— Marcy Dermansky, author of The Red Car
“Witty, sharp, and surprising. An electric switch that illuminates the intense friendship between two young women and their vibrant, complicated 1940s San Antonio.”
— Chelsey Johnson, author of Stray City
“Intense, witty, humorous, brutally honest, and full of life…An intriguing and provocative novel from a newly discovered literary voice.”
— Xiaolu Guo, author of Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China