Fez, 1954, and American ex-pat Stenham reluctantly accepts a guide for his night-time walk home through the streets of the Medina. A nationalist uprising is transforming the country, much to the annoyance of Stenham, who enjoys the trappings of the old city. His path soon crosses with the young, illiterate son of a healer, another outsider to the newly politicised life of Morocco, in this brutally honest novel of life in the midst of terrorism, violence and the ugly opportunism that accompanies both. Paul Bowles’s most masterly novel combines his classic themes: the conflict of Eastern and Western cultures and the trials of otherness.
Penguin Books, 2009 (1955)