From the preface: "Moroccan kif-smokers like to speak of "two worlds",the one ruled by inexorable natural laws, and the other, the kif world,in which each person perceives "reality" according to his own essence, the state of consciousness in which the elements of the physical universe are automatically rearranged by cannabis to suit the requirements of the individual."-Paul Bowles
Bowles immersion into the culture of North Africa has produced some of the most interesting literature. This scant collection of four stories is an attractive little book of inconsequential but readable tales. Just as Bowles studied and collected Moroccan music as a key into the North African mindset so here he studies kif as another kind of key, one that gives him direct access into the North African subconscious. Bowles sets forth in the introduction that these tales are put together making use of associations made while he was under the kif influence. ....the best parts to my ears are the hermetic sayings overheard by kif smokers. "The eye wants to sleep but the head is no mattress", "The earth trembles and the sky is afraid, and the two eyes are not brothers", "A pipe of kif before breakfast gives a man the strength of one hundred camels in the courtyard".
The folk simplicity of these tales is very appealing. Later Bowles will cover this terrain again when he works with Mohammed Mrabet transcripting that Moroccans oral tales. An excellent book by Mrabet/Bowles is M'Hashish(which means full of hashish). Happy happy reading.