Monday, April 20, 2009

"Read Any Good Books Lately?"

Yes: Paul Bowles, The Spider's House (1955).

The Washington Post concurs:

"As Francine Prose suggests in her introduction to the new Ecco paperback edition, The Spider's House should be read by anyone with an interest in either Morocco or terrorism. 'It's very, very strange and disturbing, this place,' observes a lady friend of [the protagonist]'s. 'I don't quite see how you can stay in it. It would be like being constantly under the influence of some drug, to live here. I should think going out of it could be terribly painful, when you've been here a long time.' Bowles also delves into the desperation underlying jihads launched at civilians, no matter where they occur: 'It was not independence they [the terrorists] wanted, it was a satisfaction much more immediate than that: the pleasure of seeing others undergo the humiliation of suffering and dying, and the knowledge that they had at least the small amount of power necessary to bring about that humiliation.'"