Set in Fez, Morocco, during that country's 1954 nationalist uprising, The Spider's House is perhaps Paul Bowles's most beautifully subtle novel, richly descriptive of its setting and uncompromising in its characterizations. Exploring once again the dilemma of the outsider in an alien society, and the gap in understanding between cultures - recurrent themes of Paul Bowles' writings - The Spider's House is dramatic, brutally honest, and shockingly relevant to today's political situation in the Middle East and elsewhere.
"Paul Bowles is a storyteller of the utmost purity and integrity. He writes of a world before God became man; a world in which men and women in extremis are seen as components in a larger, more elemental drama. His prose is crystalline and his voice unique…. Paul Bowles is sui generis." (Joyce Carol Oates)
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Slow and full of insight
This is a very slow read full of minute observation and probably won't appeal to everyone. However, it is acutely insightful both of the politics of Morocco under French rule and of the psychology of the main characters (who are not entirely likeable). It is also very illuminating about Islam and gave me new understanding and sympathy for the religion. It was worth listening to the book for that alone. The reader is not my favourite but just gets 5 stars.