BOWLES, Paul. A Little Stone. London: John Lehmann, 1950.
8vo., original green cloth; spine with contrasting printed label lettered and bordered in gilt; original unclipped dust wrapper with striking design by Keith Vaughan; pp. 222, [ii]; a tight copy; board edges ever-so-slightly rubbed; text block edges light spotted; light offsetting to ffep; a very good copy in near-fine jacket which has retained much of its brightness; spine very slightly darkened and just a hint of rubbing to head and foot.
First edition, first impression.
Bowles' second book is also his first collection of short stories. His writing is characterised and highly influenced by his home of Tangier in North Africa, where he settled with his wife Jane in 1947. The stories range in subject: from a pastor who attempts to marry Christianity to indigenous religion; an American husband who abandons his alcoholic wife on their honeymoon in the South American jungle; to the gruesome tale of a linguistics professor who is captured by desert nomads. Bowles is possessed by the notion of extremes, making his work exotic, terrifying and deeply haunting.
Tennessee Williams proclaimed A Distant Episode, included in this collection and arguably Bowles’ most famous short story, to be nothing short of “a masterpiece”.