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The short fiction of American literary cult figure Paul Bowles is marked by a unique, delicately spare style, and a dark, rich, exotic mood, by turns chilling, ironic, and wry—possessing a symmetry between beauty and terror that is haunting and ultimately moral. In "Pastor Dowe at Tecaté," a Protestant missionary is sent to a faraway place where his God has no power. In "Call at Corazón," an American husband abandons his alcoholic wife on their honeymoon in a South American jungle. In "Allal," a boy's drug-induced metamorphosis into a deadly serpent leads to his violent death. Here also are some of Bowles's most famous works, including "The Delicate Prey," a grimly satisfying tale of vengeance, and "A Distant Episode," which Tennessee Williams proclaimed "a masterpiece."

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