Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Unsheltered Movie

Finally got around to seeing Bertolucci's "adaptation" and even with the lowest of expectations managed to have them not met … or exceeded … I'm not sure which — but the upshot is it was terrible! Surprisingly so for the director of Last Tango in Paris. To paraphrase Clara Peller, "Where's the butter!?" A nice film to watch if you're into meharis on eregs. Plus a great shot of an ostrich (sorry I don't know the recherché Arabism), the mascot of the movie, whose director dug his head into the sand to escape the novel he was supposed to be filming.

Friday, March 9, 2012


From Daniel Halpern's note on the text of The Sheltering Sky in the Library of America edition:

According to Bowles' autobiography, Without Stopping, the novel's title came first: "Before the First World War there had been a popular song called 'Down Among the Sheltering Palms'. … [I was fascinated by] the strange word 'sheltering.' What did the palm trees shelter people from, and how sure could they be of such protection?"

Bowles' comment suggests that the adjective in "sheltering sky" is meant with some irony, and yet the only time the phrase occurs is in the very last paragraph of Chapter 23—Port's dying breakthrough—indeed, in the very last sentence: "Reach out, pierce the fine fabric of the sheltering sky, take repose." The irony here seems much less evident.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bowles' Short Stories

We read "Pages from Cold Point" in the The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction over ten years ago, so almost none of our current members could be expected to remember that. Nevertheless, it's a story that everyone would find worth reading, and doubly so for his other early short stories "A Distant Episode" and "The Delicate Prey," which both take place in settings similar to The Sheltering Sky. They're all to be found in his first short story collection The Delicate Prey and Other Stories as well as any other collection of his stories. (Additionally, most anthologies of post-WWII stories would contain one of them.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Lavender Scare" — The Movie

Our April book is The Lavender Scare. A documentary is being made from it and a trailer (and other cool stuff) is now available at the movie's website.


As I get to the end of the Bowles I'm reminded of Rimbaud when he said, "The only unbearable thing is that nothing is unbearable."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Another Royal Road through Proust …

is provided by Eric Karpeles' Paintings in Proust, wherein passages mentioning paintings occur along with the paintings themselves. This can lead to some disappointment, as when Charlus praises Mme de Surgis' portrait by Jacquet

whereas Van Dyck's portrait of the brothers Stuart is more concordant with his greater interest (in her sons).

Still and all, a most attractive and well-made volume, and selling at a steep discount on Amazon.