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delicate prey and other storiesThe Delicate Prey and Other Stories by Paul Bowles. New York. 1950. Random House. 307 pages. Jacket design by E. McKnight Kauffer.

I first discovered the existence of Paul Bowles in an essay by Gore Vidal. At the time I was a teenager working in a small used bookstore where a large portion of my meager earnings wound up going right back to the store for books. I asked the proprietor of the store if we had any books by Paul Bowles. She pulled a volume from the shelf behind the counter saying 'Yes, and it is a first edition.' At the time I could not understand why anyone would buy a hardcover book when a paperback edition of that same book existed, but since there was no paperback copy of the book in the store I put down the cash to purchase this first edition. This was the first first edition I even purchased knowing that it was actually a first edition, and it was a good start to my book collecting mania... These are amazing stories that reminded me in some ways of Poe, but communicating to me an even stronger sense of horror alsong with a sense of the incomprehensibility of different cultures. Highly recommended !

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

Despite the fact that many of them have appeared in out-of-the-way places, the stories of Paul Bowles have already created a sensation among critics and low and fellow-writers. Of the seventeen stories in this volume, all but one are set in Arab North Africa, the Far East or Latin America. They share an almost Gothic preoccupation with violence - particularly that violence arising out of the clash of the Westerner with the alien world of the East.

Bowles Paul

Born December 30, 1910

Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 – November 18, 1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. Following a cultured middle-class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris in the 1930s. He studied music with Aaron Copland, and in New York wrote music for various theatrical productions, as well as other compositions. He achieved critical and popular success with the publication in 1949 of his first novel The Sheltering Sky, set in what was known as French North Africa, which he had visited in 1931. In 1947 Bowles settled in Tangier, Morocco, and his wife, Jane Bowles followed in 1948. Except for winters spent in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) during the early 1950s, Tangier was his home for the remaining 52 years of his life. Paul Bowles died in 1999 at the age of 88. His ashes are buried in Lakemont Cemetery in upstate New York.

 

 

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