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Let It Come Down by Paul Bowles
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Let It Come Down (original 1952; edition 1980)

by Paul Bowles

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365529,724 (3.71)17
Member:veilofisis
Title:Let It Come Down
Authors:Paul Bowles
Info:Black Sparrow Pr (1980), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 292 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction (Modern), All-Time Favorites, To Read/Reread, Read In 2011
Rating:*****
Tags:Hardcover, Signed, To Blog

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Let It Come Down by Paul Bowles (1952)

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First printing of this edition (originally published in 1952). 292 pp. Fine in printed paper-covered boards with cloth spine and printed paper label. Fine acetate dust jacket. New preface by Bowles. One of 350 numbered copies SIGNED by Bowles. Miller A6g. First printing of this edition (originally published in 1952). Bookseller Inventory # 33091
  seaward | Jun 2, 2014 |
A novel of a young American's surrender to evil in North Africa. ( )
  zenosbooks | Feb 25, 2009 |
Let It Come Down is an odd fish these days: an existential thriller. Set in the 50s in Morocco where Bowles spent a lot of his life it has a wonderful sense of place. Pace, however, is another matter and this essentially readable novel lurches along in a kind of staccato. The anti-hero (Dyar), and there are only anti-heroes in this Camus inspired piece, is a thoroughly unlikable man on the run from a failed life in the states to a failed life in a partitioned Morocco.
Bowles draws the ex-pat community with a sharp eyed insight that to this day chimes with ex-pats worldwide. For this alone the book is worth reading. HIs prose is well tuned and his dialogue sure. If the narrative stumbles the moral, dialectic thread is as sure footed as a mountain goat.
We follow the further fall of Dyar almost open mouthed as the ex-pats around him mouth their racist opinions of the Arab host population who themselves are stereotypically portrayed by Bowles .
It is a good book. Not a great book and certainly not one of Bowles' great works: for that you should go to his short stories. In some ways it is a a curio and an oddly dated one but that said it is worthy of your attention.
2 vote papalaz | Feb 3, 2008 |
Reviewer: G. Merritt (Boulder, CO) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
Paul Bowles (THE SHELTERING SKY) lived as an American expatriate in Tangier, Morocco, where he wrote LET IT COME DOWN (1952). Set in the 1950s, Bowles' novel--reminiscent of Camus' STRANGER--follows Nelson Dyar, who leaves his mundane job as a bank job in New York to work in a friend's travel agency in Tangier, where he soon discovers that the agency is only a front for an illegal currency exchange. Dyar is a "wire-haired terrier" of a man--"alert, eager, suggestible" (p. 104), but he lacks brains and soul. Although he resides in an exotic city, Dyar, as his name suggests, is essentially already a dead man living a meaningless existence. "For years," Dyar "had gone along not being noticed, not noticing himself, accompanying the days mechanically, exaggerating the exertion and boredom of the day to give him sleep at night, and using the sleep to provide the energy to go through the following day" (p. 177). Dyar describes himself as a "victim" (p. 8), and soon after his arrival in Morocco, Bowles' protagonist is victimized by the situational, exotic culture of expatriates, drugs, alcohol, and casual sex that permeates Tangier. However, Dyar is neither a sympathetic nor a likable character, who seems to live a separate existence. He falls into a meaningless relationship with Hadija, a young prostitute, who is also the object of an alcoholic lesbian heiress's affections. Perhaps much like his former life in New York, Dyar's life in Tangier never becomes a movement toward or away from anything, he only continues to live his "life for life's sake . . . in the meantime you eat" (p. 183), all of which results not only in a darkly intriguing novel, but a highly satisfying existential thriller as well.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3D9VXSUDX8J36/102-7146503-9352125

Book Description

In Let It Come Down, Paul Bowles plots the doomed trajectory of Nelson Dyar, a New York bank teller who comes to Tangier in search of a different life and ends up giving in to his darkest impulses. Rich in descriptions of the corruption and decadence of the International Zone in the last days before Moroccan independence, Bowles's second novel is an alternately comic and horrific account of a descent into nihilism. ( )
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  gnewfry | Feb 1, 2006 |
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Epigraph
BANQUO: It will be Rayne to Night.
1ST MURDERER: Let it come downe.
(They set upon Banquo.)
MACBETH, Act III, Scene 3
Dedication
First words
It was night by the time the little ferry drew up alongside the dock.
Era ormai notte quando il battello si fermò vicino alla banchina. Mentre Dyar percorreva la passerella, per un improvviso colpo di vento calde gocce di pioggia gli percossero la faccia. Gli altri passeggeri, pochi, erano poveramente vestiti; portavano valige di fibra e sacchetti di carta. Egli restò a guardarli, mentre in piedi di fronte alla dogana attendeva pazientemente che la porta si aprisse. Una mezza dozzina di arbai cenciosi si erano già accorti di lui dall'altro lato del recinto, e cominciarono a gridargli "Hotel Métropol mister!" "Ehi, Johnny, venire qui!" "Cercate un albergo?" "Grand Hotel, ehi!" Proprio come se avessero visto il suo passaporto amercano. Non ci badò. La pioggia si fece più intensa, per qualche minuto. Quando il doganiere aprì la porta egli era tutto pervaso da una spiacevole sensazione di umidità.
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La parola "infinito" gli aveva sempre procurato una sensazione di orrore fisico. Se almeno si fosse potuto dividere l'esistenza in sezioni limitate allo spazio e al tempo presente, senza riverbero di echi del passato, né ansiose aspettative del tempo a venire! Fissò con maggiore intensità il suolo, finché non riuscì a facilitare le cose e tutto si ridusse a una macchia lucente. Ma allora un battito di palpebre, come un granello di sabbia, non poteva venire impoderabilmente spinto in basso dallo stesso elemento paralizzante? Ogni cosa era parte di uno stesso elemento. Non c'era parte di lui che non fosse derivata dalla terra e che non fosse destinata a ritornarvi. Egli era un'estensione animata della terra bruciata dal sole. Ma nemmeno ciò era del tutto vero. Sollevò la testa, si stropicciò gli occhi e accese un'altra volta la pipa. C'era una differenza, si disse, mentre soffiava fuori il fumo in una lunga colonna bianca che subito si ruppe e si dissolse. Era una differenza piccola, evidente  ed assurda, ma poiché era la sola differenza che in quel momento gli venisse in mente quella fu anche la sola spiegazione possibile che potesse trovare dell'essere vivo. La terra non sapeva di esistere, esisteva e basta. Perciò vivere significava soprattutto sapere di esser vivi, e la vita senza questa certezza era simile alla non esistenza. Per questo senza dubbio gli veniva fatto continuamente di domandarsi: sono realmente qui? Era naturale desiderare una tale assicurazione, provarne una disperata necessità. La pietra di paragone di ogni volta consisteva nel poter sempre rispondere, senza esitazione: "Sì". Non doveva siussistere un briciolo di dubbio. Una ivta doveva possedere tutte le qualità della terra dal cui derivava, più la consapevolezza di possederle. Lo intuì con perfetta chiarezza, in un ragionamento senza parole, una serie di idee che gli si susseguivano nella mente con la spontaneità della musica, la precisione della geometria. In qualche remota parte di se stesso stava esaminando la sua vita, con un telescopio rovesciato, vedendola nei più intimi dettagli, lontanissimima ma con tremenda chiarezza, e mentre guardava gli sembrò che ora ogni circostanza venisse contemplata nella sua prospettiva finale. Aveva sempre pensato, anche prima, che sebbene l'infanzia fosse ormai tanto lontana ci sarebbe stato un giorno, un avvenimento che gli avrebbe dato l'opportunità di vederla definita nelle sue angosciose delizie. Un giorno si era svegliato per accorgersi che la sua infanzia se n'era andata, era finita mentre lui non badava e i suoi elementi erano rimasti indefiniti, il suo disegno nebuloso, le sue armonie tutte insolute. Eppure si era sempre sentito legato ad ogni parte di essa da migliaia di fili invisibili; pensò di avere il potere di resuscitarla o trasformarla, semplicemente toccando quei segreti fili della memoria.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 087685479X, Paperback)

A novel from the pen of Paul Bowles, the author of such works as "The Sheltering Sky" and "Up Above the World". Nelson Dyar, a man without aims or values, reaches North Africa after giving up his job as a New York bank clerk and is drawn into the unfamiliar world of Tangier's expatriate community.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Paul Bowles had already established himself as an important American composer when, at the age of 38, he published The Sheltering Sky and became widely recognized as one of the most powerful writers of the postwar period. By the time of his death in 1999 he had become a unique and legendary figure in modern literary culture. From his base in Tangier he produced novels, stories, and travel writings in which exquisite surfaces and violent undercurrents mingle. Bowles - who once told an interviewer, "I've always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born"--Charts the collisions between "civilized" exiles and unfamiliar societies that they can never really grasp. In fiction of slowly gathering menace, he achieves effects of horror and dislocation with an elegantly spare style and understated wit. This Library of America volume, containing his first three novels, with its companion Collected Stories and Later Writings, is the first annotated edition of Bowles' work, offering the full range of his literary achievement: the portrait of an outsider who was one of the essential American writers of the last half century." "The Sheltering Sky (1949), which remains Bowles' most celebrated work, describes the unraveling of a young, sophisticated, and adventuresome married couple as they make their way into the Sahara. In a prose style of meticulous calm and stunning visual precision, Bowles tracks Port and Kit Moresby on a journey through the desert that culminates in death and madness." "In Let It Come Down (1952), Bowles plots the doomed trajectory of Nelson Dyar, a New York bank teller who comes to Tangier in search of a different life and ends up giving in to this darkest impulses. Rich in descriptions of the corruption and decadence of the International Zone in the last days before Moroccan independence, Bowles' second novel is an alternately comic and horrific account of a descent into nihilism." "The Spider's House (1955), the longest and most complex of Bowles' novels, is set against the end of French rule in Morocco. Its characters - ranging from a Moroccan boy gifted with spiritual healing power to an American writer who regrets the passing of traditional ways - are caught up in the clash between colonial and nationalist factions, and are forced to confront cultural gulfs widened by political violence."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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