Thursday, June 21, 2012

On "500 Kilometers to Cairo" by David Ewald (3972 words) ***

I've long been a fan of Paul Bowles's fiction, especially his stories. A critical biography I read claimed that Bowles fell out of favor among American readers the longer he stayed in North Africa. The world that he became a part of was one Americans could not understand. But that is precisely what Bowles writes about--that misunderstanding between the Arab world and the Western world.

Enter David Ewald, whose tale covers similar ground. A man visiting Egypt with a woman who is part of the world he is visiting. Although he is teaching English overseas, he is still a tourist. He has money. He has a way "home," to the America he wants to return to, along with the girl. The woman, by contrast, does not want to be in America. How can she not? And why is America so important to him? These are the questions the two strive over, and in the end, it is only after some harrowing experiences--the last caused by his own self--that the American finally begins to understand. Read the story here at Bull.

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