Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Sheltering Sky: Briefly

Been reading Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky, and about half way through it, while combating rain and long holiday shifts at the store and other blog devotions and cooking and being broke devotions. And there are myriad end of the year lists out there to comb over for books I haven't read and need to if I want to know what my peers are doing.

(Look for me at The Rumpus tomorrow as I'm filling in for Seth Fischer. (He's busy graduating!)

As with his stories, Bowles has this way about him of economical straight-shooting mixed with lyrical, intensely tangible flights of language. He is a place maker and with him even the psyche is more landscape than anything else. Like a cluster of stones in the chests. Canyons that open up in the blood.

His whole written output was the most carefully thought-out tight-rope walk. And his psychological probings are complex and ardently, intricately described. In this case, three people enter into a land that is not like their own and the foreignness of their experience only magnifies their original foreignness to each other. The hyper-magnification of both keeps escalating until you feel, as I do at the book's midway point, that the worst possible thing is going to happen to them. To all of them.

And I'm dropping from fatigue right now, as is Katy getting adjusted to her new bakery work which thrives on pre-dawn labor -- but I'm in the cross hairs of some creative essays on the idea of travel and journey and not-going places and making life a map that combines landscapes with memories and falsehoods.

I need to expand on all that. And I shall. For now, I rest weary legs in a heated room.

1 comment:

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