London: Peter Owen, 1966. First Edition. Hardcover. First Impression of Bowles only short stories, collecting "Plain pleasures," "Everything is nice," "A Guatemalan idyll," "Camp cataract," "A day in the open," "A quarrelling pair," and "A stick of green candy", ranging in place from North Africa to South American. Slim crown 8vo (185 x 116mm): 184pp. Original publisher's pale blue cloth, spine stamped in red; illustrated dust jacked by Keith Cunningham, priced 25s. An exemplary example, jacket mildly dust-soiled, else tight, square, and clean and bright throughout, only lightly read (if at all). Fine / Fine. Item #BB2219
Two of the short stories in this collection, “A Guatemalan Idyll” and “A Day in the Open," originally were conceived as part of Bowles's only novel, Two Serious Women. But her husband, the composer and writer Paul Bowles, advised her to remove them from the novel and publish them separately. Typically in Bowles's stories, as in “A Guatemalan Idyll." several plots are interwoven with inexplicable events and symbolic details into a multilayered narrative. Here, a woman has an affair with an unnamed male traveler; her daughter lets loose a snake in the middle of town, where it is squashed by a bus; accompanying the daughter is a boy whose head is wounded from falling on a rusty nail; later, the woman falls asleep near a convent, then seduces the boy who wakes her; the story ends when the traveler departs. The companion piece, “A Day in the Open," is no less puzzling, in its use of language and nontraditional narrative techniques. In an oft quoted review of her collected works (“Up from the Underground,” The New York Times Book Review, February 29, 1967, p. 5), the poet John Asbury called Bowles “one of the finest modern writers of fiction, in any language.” N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).