Stories of Paul Bowles

Stories of Paul Bowles

Book - 2001
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An American literary cult figure, Paul Bowles established his legacy with the novel The Sheltering Sky. An immediate sensation, it became a fixture in American letters. Bowles then returned his energies to the short story -- the genre he preferred and soon mastered.

Bowles's short fiction is orchestral in composition and exacting in theme, marked by a unique, delicately spare style and a dark, rich, exotic mood, by turns chilling, ironic, and wry. In "Pastor Dowe at Tacat#65533;," a Protestant missionary is sent to the far reaches of the globe -- a place, he discovers, where his God has no power. In "Call at Coraz#65533;n," an American husband abandons his alcoholic wife on their honeymoon in a South American jungle. In "Allal," a boy's drug-induced metamorphosis into a deadly serpent leads to his violent death, but not before he feels the "joy" of sinking his fangs into human prey. Also gathered here are Bowles's most famous works, such as "The Delicate Prey," a grimly satisfying tale of vengeance, and "A Distant Episode," which Tennessee Williams proclaimed "a masterpiece of short fiction."

"Beauty and terror go wonderfully well together in [Bowles's] work," Madison Smartt Bell once said. Though sometimes shocking, Bowles's stories have a symmetry that is haunting and ultimately moral. Like Poe (whose stories Bowles's mother read to him at bedtime), Bowles had an instinctive adeptness with the nightmare vision. Joyce Carol Oates, in her introduction to Too Far from Home, writes that his characters are "at the mercy of buried wishes experienced as external fate." In these masterful stories, our deepest fears are manifest, tables are turned, and allegiances are tested. Fate is an inexorable element of Bowles's distant landscapes, and its psychological effects on his characters are rendered with penetrating accuracy. Like Hemingway, Bowles is famously unsentimental, a skilled craftsman of crystalline prose.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper Collins : 2001
ISBN: 9780066212739
Branch Call Number: FIC Bowl
Characteristics: 657p


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Nov 03, 2014

Ah, the joy of reading... This is one of those books that I looked forward to going back to, to escaping into. It includes a little bit of everything, told in a variety of voices: stories that take place in far-away lands; one-sided conversations; journal entries; fables... Through it all, Bowles' writing is masterful. I was sad to come to the end.

Apr 14, 2013

These stories are beautiful, macabre and unique. They are worth several readings along with his other great work.

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