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The Delicate Prey

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  663 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Book by Bowles, Paul
Paperback, Penguin Mini Modern Classics, 54 pages
Published February 10th 2011 by Penguin Books (first published 1950)
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Apr 09, 2012 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  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
Aug 17, 2008 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2010 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michael Cross
Sep 24, 2012 Michael Cross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't care if you live or die . . .
Tom Coffeen
Apr 07, 2008 Tom Coffeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Graham P
Jan 13, 2012 Graham P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 12, 2017 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Coughenour
Jul 17, 2007 Jim Coughenour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: darkandfunny
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.
Oct 27, 2007 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The Delicate Prey' and 'A Distant Episode' are stunners. Bowles remains one of my top five, all time faves.
Vel Veeter
Jul 14, 2017 Vel Veeter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cbr-9
This collection of stories is the earliest one from Paul Bowles I could find. He was a renowned composer (friend and colleague of Aaron Copland for example) and just up and decided to write a handful of novels and a lot of stories.

These stories kind of take place all over the place, from North Africa to Mexico and Central America, as well as a few nameless places.

He, in a way, almost writes anti-Hemingway short stories. These aren’t the stories of masculine men revealing small insecurities but u
Andrea Ta-wil
To be clear, the writing is superb. I gave this book three stars because every story except one made me feel AWFUL. That probably isn't fair to the book, and I do want to encourage others to read it--particularly writers looking for an example of narrative that's exquisitely descriptive without being purple or overly sentimental. But for heaven's sake, don't read it if you're in a dark place.
Jan 04, 2017 Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago when I took a course on American short stories with the University of California-Berkeley Extension, one short story hit me between the eyes and stopped me cold: “The Distant Episode.” Its writer, whom I hadn’t heard of, was Paul Bowles.
That short story is one of 17 in “The Delicate Prey,” a 1950 collection by Bowles of stories written from 1939 to 1949. In rereading 1945’s “The Distant Episode,” I was again struck by its 10 pages of astonishing brutality, taking place in the m
Jeff Hobbs
Read so far:

At Paso Rojo --
Pastor Dowe at Tacate --
Call at Corazon --
Under the sky --
Senor Ong and Senor Ha --
The circular valley --3
The echo --
The scorpion --
The fourth day out from Santa Cruz --
Pages from Cold Point --
You are not I --
How many midnights --
A thousand days to Mokhtar --
Tea on the mountain --
By the water --
The delicate prey --
A distant episode--2
David Leo
Feb 25, 2017 David Leo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cold, scary, profound.
May 22, 2016 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such an interesting collection of stories. Paul Bowles is one of the most intriguing writers that I have been familiarized with, and each one of these stories are distinct and show Bowles' background as it seems to bleed through in all of them. No story is dry, and all of them are sure to suck you in! Because I cannot pick just one, I'll give a sort of theme that I learned from each one.

at paso rojo- People need a way to make themselves feel stronger or more powerful when insecure.

May 02, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Pickle Farmer
Oct 11, 2014 Pickle Farmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Charles Bechtel
Sep 08, 2012 Charles Bechtel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Peter Dunn
Jan 19, 2016 Peter Dunn rated it liked it
Brutal and dark tales that feel almost set in some barbarian fantasy world rather than ours. However it is our world and it shows humans excelling at being horrendous to other humans.
Not really my cup of tea but if you want thirty minutes of occasionally violent bleakness then these three stories are very well written ways of taking you there. I would give it 5 stars for the writing but I can't truthfully say that I enjoyed it, though I am sure that others will.
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.
Mark J  Easton
Aug 26, 2013 Mark J Easton rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 24, 2015 Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very, very well written. Paul Bowles is a master of words and stories. But I just can't give it 5 stars. The stories are all absolutely horrific in one way or many and although that may be what he is seeking to do, I can't say it's an enjoyable read. Frightening and thought provoking, yes. Beach read, no
Don Gorman
Nov 01, 2012 Don Gorman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
Apr 07, 2011 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Derek Martin
Oct 29, 2008 Derek Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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...

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