We cannot in this instance agree with the Big V’s view that this book is “an utterly ridiculous performance, devoid of talent.” Bowles did admire Nabokov and his reaction to this verdict upon his most famous book makes for nice speculation. But then, VN was never a fan of the existentialists.
Port and Kit Moresby try a Saharan trek to salvage their loveless marriage and end up destroyed by kif, heat, sexual assault, typhoid and catatonia, a fairly accurate reflection (death from typhoid aside) of the real life of Paul and Jane Bowles. Appalling experiences related in commonplace terms, Bowles nevertheless manages to convey the ravages imposed on the facile tourist by a deep and pitiless culture. Vladimir Nabokov to James Laughlin 27/4/50 (from Selected Letters 1940-1977).
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