Friday, December 19, 2008
A who's who of mid-20th century artists, musicians and writers, Without Stopping follows Bowles through his middle class New York upbringing, through his journeys as a young man through Europe and North Africa, Central and South America, and back to North Africa as an older man as he settled in Tangier.
Having thoroughly enjoyed The Stories of Paul Bowles, and their rich desolation and iconoclasm, Without Stopping worked well as a follow up, exploring the depths that must have been the impetus of some of his short stories. And while there are a lot of well known facts about Bowles life that are left out of this book, those omissions do not detract from the overall telling of the experiences and travels portrayed in the book. In my opinion, the reader is not left wondering too much the reasons why, but I suppose I will look to a Bowles biography soon to get the rest of the story.
All in all this is great reading for those who have had dreams about living the vagobond, starving artists life, but never had the guts to follow them. Those like me.
I'm also reading psychologist Phil Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect, which is a good study of his infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and a further exploration of the reasons why "normal" people can do very bad things, a subject I've always been fascinated by. It is good to educate ourselves about the many times conflicting workings of our minds, as we never know when might might be in a situation to become a hero, or become a devil.