Paul Bowles: A Life

Paul Bowles: A Life

by Virginia Spencer Carr
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Paul Bowles 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Virginia Spencer Carr is not only a fine biographer in this recounting of the life of the ubiquitous Paul Bowles, she also was a friend of a fascinating man who touched many aspects of the arts and made his mark in multiple areas of creation. Some of those areas were in his friendships and interpersonal critiquing of famous artists such as WH Auden, Benjamin Britten, Ned Rorem, Aaron Copland, Tennessee Williams, Virgil Thompson, Carson McCullers, and Gertrude Stein. His life began as a poet, progressed through years as a composer of music that never quite found its place, and ended as a novelist of such impressive books as 'The Sheltering Sky', 'Let It Com Down', 'The Spider's House' etc.Carr takes all this into account and serves it up with a thorough amount of information about Bowles' carefully guarded private life. Married to lesbian author Jane Bowles, Paul Bowles was one of those sub rosa gay artists who managed to bond with many other great gay artists in a time when such interplay was hardly condoned. Carr manages to give insight as to how these people learned form each other (for instance the infamous February House in New York where many of them lived communally for a while) she does this without resorting to gossip or sensationalism, respecting the fact that writing biography includes an obligation to yield a viable picture of the subject.Bowles spent much of his life in Tangiers (this is where Carr first met him) and most of his successful novels and writings were influenced by his observations of the clashes between the 'tourists' who visit Morocco yet never connects with the realities and idiosyncrasies of that mysteriously magical place. Much the same could be said about the ambiguous persona of Paul Bowles. How much of his life was due to his inherent talents and how much was due to his integral interplay with the artists of his entourage? Carr poses some fine explanations in this very readable biography of a man who remains an enigma. Grady Harp