Leaving his uneventful life in America behind him, Nelson Dyar sails to Tangier to take up work in a travel agency run by an old acquaintance Jack Wilcox. From his arrival he begins to explore the dark underworld of the city- its bars and brothels; its erotic film shows and suspect financial arrangements; its aristocracy and its prostitutes. Determined to make something happen in his new life, he is drawn into a series of increasingly sinister events from which there seems little chance of escape. This dark terrifying novel is arguably Bowles's greatest achievement.
'Bowles is the real article... subversive and dangerous.' Life
Paul Bowles was born in Jamaica, New York, in 1910. He began composing music and writing stories at a very early age, and at sixteen some of his poetry was published in the French literary magazine transition. At the age of eighteen he began his travels to Europe, North Africa, Mexico and Central America. A student of Aaron Copland, Bowles established his reputation early as a gifted composer. In 1945 he returned to writing short stories and by 1947, when he went to live in Tangier, fiction had become his major focus. He wrote four novels, The Sheltering Sky, Let it Come Down, The Spider's House and Up Above the World; one hundred short stories; a book of poetry; and many travel essays. He lived in Tangier until his death in November 1999.
In his obituary The Times described Bowles as 'one of the most unusual, unconventional and gifted men of his time', and the Independent wrote- 'Bowles was a mystic, a man of many abilities . . . he will be seen as a major twentieth-century writer'.