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Up Above The World by Paul Bowles - A Review

Paul Bowles writes with control and clarity, but in this novel the flatness of his characters and the fuzziness of the plot, which is more or less 'explained' in the final passages, achieve little of note. Perhaps the book is best for its descriptions of the physical world, especially the radical changes one encounters in Latin America when traveling from the tropical coastline to the high sierra. At the novel's core, however, is an insistent focus on a certain kind of predatory, nihilistic central character whose dialogue--imperturbable, agreeable, often insightful--does not match up at all with his boorish, sadistic actions.