The Sheltering Sky was Paul Bowles’s first novel, and although he honed his art almost to his dying day—novels, poems, stories, translations, as well as musical scores—it was this strange, uneven, and somewhat hallucinatory novel, and a handful of disturbing short stories written around the same time, that seemed to locate his fictional vision for good in the minds of his readers. So at the age of 38 he was defined, and that definition dogged him for the rest of his life. Even in his eighties he was pestered about details in the novel. I know this to be true because I was one of the people pestering him when he was that great age.
I found him sitting on the floor of a back room in a large chilly apartment in a gray building on a back street in Tangier. It was October and clammy cold. To drive the dampness away Bowles had a sort of superior blowtorch going, a fizzing blue flame heating the curtained-off cubicle, where he was seated like a hawker in a bazaar, on a mat, back straight, legs out, because of a leg infection. Around him was a litter of small objects: notebooks, pens, medicine bottles—everything within reach—a teapot, a cup, spoons, matches, and shelves with books and papers, some of them musical scores. A metronome sat on a low table nearby, among bottles of capsules and tubes of ointment, and cassette tapes and a tin of Nesquik and cough drops and a partly eaten candy bar and a note folded and jammed into an envelope scribbled Paul Bowles, Tanger, Maroc, a vague address but it had obviously found him, as I had, with little more information than that.
With a pad in his hand, he was translating a novel from Spanish. His illness and his age gave him a strangely sculpted and skeletal dignity. He seemed sure of himself, and (as a chronic vacillator myself) I admired him for being uncompromising. ... [mehr] https://lithub.com/paul-bowles-heres-my-message-everything-gets-worse/