These are four tales of contemporary life in a land where cannabis, rather than alcohol, customarily provides a way out of the phenomenological world. Thus, of the men in these stories, Salam uses suggestions supplied by smoking kif to rid himself of a possible enemy. He of the Assembly catches himself up in the mesh of his own kif-dream and begins to act it out in reality; Idir’s victory over Lahcen is the classical story of the kif-smoker’s ability to outwit the drinker. Driss the soldier, with aid of kif, proves the existence of magic to his enlightened superior officer. For all of them the kif-pipe is the means to attaining a state of communication not only with others but above all with themselves.
“His work is art. At his best Paul Bowles has no peer.” —Time
“[W]riters and artists such as Williams, Jack Kerouac, Francis Bacon, Christopher Isherwood, Truman Capote, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg to Tangier. . .sought Bowles as an oracle, a writer whose work demonstrated its author as an original who saw farther, deeper, and clearer, and who refused to flinch.”–The Australian
Paul Bowles (1910-1999) was an expatriate composer, author, and translator. His other famous literary works include The Sheltering Sky, Travels: Collected Writings 1950-1993, and Without Stopping