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The Delicate Prey (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
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The Delicate Prey (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  523 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Paul Bowles once said that a story should remain taut throughout, like a piece of string. That tense, stretched tone is the key to this collection of 17 eerie tales by the author best known for The Sheltering Sky. The Delicate Prey is dedicated: "For my mother, who first read me the stories of Poe." If Poe had lived in Mexico, and he'd had ice water running in his veins to ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 10th 2011 by Penguin Books (first published 1950)
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Apr 27, 2012 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Barbarism begins at home
Recommended to Mariel by: it is a long story but let's say Malkovich, head scratching blue headed goodreader, canada and Jane Bowles is beloved by half my gr friendslist and my heroine Joy Williams and Gore Vidal who his the new Susan Sontag
The Delicate Prey, yeah, and they are, but I had a feeling that if I could peak out of the corner of my eye when no one was looking that I would see a predator licking someone else's blood off their own paws. They would curl into a tired ball after a fit of violence they wouldn't have wanted to help, you know? Dream of chases and far off screams and it wouldn't seem any more real than the heat coming off the ground in waves. Never mind the no one looking part. The predator would wrap itself in a ...more
It was in an essay by Gore Vidal that I first encountered the name Paul Bowles many years ago. At the time I was a teenager working in a small used bookstore where a large portion of my meager earnings wound up going right back to the store for books. I asked the proprietor of the store if we had any books by Paul Bowles. She pulled a volume from the shelf behind the counter saying “yes, and it is a first edition”. At the time I could not understand why anyone would buy a hardcover book when a p ...more
Michael Cross
This book doesn't care if you live or die . . .
These stories are seriously messed up - rife with ambuscading menace. I was rather indifferent to The Sheltering Sky, but these short stories are some of the best I've read in a long time. I'm thinking I might have to bump TSS - it must be thirteen, fourteen years since I had at 'er - back into the rotation for a reappraisal.
Tom Coffeen
Bowles' prose is cold and elegant. His themes are disculturation and dislingual anxiety. "A Distant Episode" and "The Scorpion" stand as antitheses to the presumption of the necessity of Western modes of socialization and communication. Horrifying and riveting stuff.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The delicate prey, Paul Bowles (1910)
عنوان: طعمه لذیذ؛ نویسنده: پل بولز (باولز)؛ برگردان: سمانه جعفری؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، روزگار نو، 1391، در 64 ص، شابک: 9786006867069؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه مدرن کلاسیک، از نویسندگان آمریکایی قرن 20 م
عنوان داستان‌ها: «طعمة لذیذ»، «یک حادثة دور» و «درّه گرد» است. در داستان «طعمة لذیذ»: «درمیس» پسر جوانی ست که به همراه دو دایی‌ خود که تاجر هستند و علاقمند به امور دینی، به تجارت چرم می‌پردازد. روزی آن‌ها ... ا. شربیانی
Graham P
Sparse and sinister tales make-up this collection of Bowle's darker fiction. Full of quiet menace, each tales paints a different shade of alienation - whether it's in Latin America, Morocco or Manhattan, each exposes individuals on the precipice of some life-changing (life-threatening) moment. He wisely grazes the surface and leaves much to the imagination, but others (including the brutal 'A Distant Episode') goes for the throat. From the era of the late 40s, early 50's, Bowles tales are right ...more
Read the majority of these in Paul Bowles' complete collected short stories; checked this book out from the library back home so that way I could sneakily say I had "read" the whole thing : ) ... these are all so freaking wacko and disturbing. I freaking love them. I couldn't stop talking to my friend about them. I love the crazy, demented, unpredictable endings. I love how we follow these sick villain freaks around--a rapist, a demon, a murderer-rapist. Favorites are "The Echo" (would totally t ...more
I've long admired the dark novels of Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky; Let It Come Down; Up Above the World) and his excellent memoir Without Stopping, but his short stores are utterly strange, illuminated and cruel. They seem to have been written by a man in a fever with ice in his veins. My favorites: "Delicate Prey," "A Distant Episode" and especially the ultra-chilling "Pages from Cold Point."

"A distant episode" is one of the most scorching stories written by an American(ex-pat or otherwise) in the 20th century...intelligent, visceral, and very scary.(the image of the dog hit with a rock will never...ever leave me.)"Pages from Cold Point" and "Delicate Prey" are also nasty little bundles.
'The Delicate Prey' and 'A Distant Episode' are stunners. Bowles remains one of my top five, all time faves.

A few of them blend together in my memory, but the best stories- “Senor Ong and Senor Ha”, “The Circular Valley”, “The Fourth Day out from Santa Cruz”, “Pages from Cold Point”, “By the Water” and “The Delicate Prey”, in my opinion- have a quality about them that’s entirely unique. It’s hard to describe the horror that wells up from these stories. It’s existential horror, reminiscent of the scene in The Sheltering Sky when Port and Kit look at the sky over the desert and Port says that he sometim
B.E. Scully
There's no doubt about it--Paul Bowles is a gorgeously brutal writer who can place a phrase like a land mine and build narratives as stealthy and deadly as a ninja attack. It's easy to see why writers like Norman Mailer and Tobias Wolff have praised his work so highly, and this is definitely a collection that makes an unforgettable impact, for better and worse. Unfortunately for me, that impact was too often for the worse. The first three stories in the collection were a bit slow going in terms ...more
Charles Bechtel
Perhaps there are a handful of short story collections by a single author that stand as marks on the road to perfection; this is one. It joins Faulkner's "These Thirteen," Hemingway's "The First Forty Nine Stories," Kate Chopin's "The Awakening and Other Stories," and a number of others (the list is not criminally short.)

Each story is a master class in how not to write a "then this happened" tale. It may not even be possible to tell exactly what happens in any given story. An excellent example o
La collana Mini Modern Classics della Penguin è benemerita, perché permette di farsi una veloce idea su di un autore mediante un assaggino di 60-100 pagine, tenendo conto che, ahimé, Ars Longa, Vita Brevis.

Dei tre racconti di questa mini antologia, i primi due parlano di un Nordafrica e Sahara crudeli ed allucinanti.

The Delicate Prey, racconto che dà il titolo alla raccolta, è una specie di American Psycho nel Sahara.

A Distant Episode è una vera discesa all'Inferno guidata dall'arroganza cultura
I've owned this book for 20 years. Somehow, I never read it. That was a mistake. Sparse, elegant prose. Stories that are mythic and (ahem) disquieting. Yipes!
Jim Smith
Highly recommended. Fools rush in unaware of the distance.....the potential for violence. Bowles is able to touch on an alien landscape and culture.
Christopher Sutch
This is one of the best short story collections I've ever read. There is one story ("By the Water") that seems like a "miss" to me, but every other piece is quite good and shows off Bowles's breadth of talent admirably. He seems like he was one of the most humane American writers, possessing a keen sense of the complexity of human relations (both interpersonal and intercultural) along with knowledge and empathy for the divergent points of view of the characters in his work.
Some of these stories were just too dark and grim for me. I know that other reviewers thought they were powerful, but I had to ask, why?
Mark Easton
A trio of savage, unholy and forlorn stories, described with a beautiful timbre that serve to disarm and desensitise the reader. Bowles' roams effortlessly from the harshness of the desert to the exuberant and mountainous jungles, providing an unstinting reminder that, no matter how much civilisation filters and trammels our minds, reality, like good fiction, is a gritty affair that can be forgotten but never truly escaped.
Don Gorman
The opening stories were slow going....not too exciting. However, by the fourth story, Bowles came through, the language exploded and the dark reality of life came shining through. A good collection that would be best read at the tail end of summer (something not quite right about them being read in the late autumn).
Eric Franklin
Psychologically haunting and geographically stunning, "The Delicate Prey: And Other Stories" shows incredible range and depth. It explores the impact of travelers and colonizers on their destinations, pretty much never in a positive light. A fantastic collection to savor while traveling yourself.
Pavan Rao
Haven't yet made up my mind about these odd and at times cruel stories..definitely a page turner and stays with you long after you've read something must be good about it...have to read some his other works to gauge the authors other it an make up your mind
Superb stories from a master of the form. Each of the stories in this collection has a haunting, eerie quality. Particular standouts in the collection include "The Circular Valley," "Senor Ong and Senor Ha," and "A Distant Episode."
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Reading these stories off and on for over a year. Lush writing, "exotic" settings but I can't say I'm hooked on them. They are intriguing enough to make me want to read one of Bowles' novels after I'm finished.
Derek Martin
These are really good little stories. I highly recommend this book. Paul Bowles likes to explore situations in which the dark side of human nature shows through despite the appearances and conventions obscuring it.
Sommige verhalen konden me boeien, de andere totaal niet. In het algemeen hangt er een duistere of sombere sfeer over alle verhalen.
Bowles is writing from a perspective that is unique. Like nothing else you've ever read. Chilling, sparse and beautiful.
Not as good as the novels I've read by him. Some points of brilliance, often brutal.
Do you like being uncomfortable?


Then you will very much enjoy this book.
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Paul Bowles grew up in New York, and attended college at the University of Virginia before traveling to Paris, where became a part of Gertrude Stein's literary and artistic circle. Following her advice, he took his first trip to Tangiers in 1931 with his friend, composer Aaron Copeland.

In 1938 he married author and playwright Jane Auer (see: Jane Bowles). He moved to Tangiers permanently in 1947,
More about Paul Bowles...
The Sheltering Sky Let it Come Down The Stories of Paul Bowles The Spider's House Collected Stories, 1939-1976

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