"A pipe of kif before breakfast gives a man the strength of a hundred camels in the courtyard." The proverb which opens this collection of stories lets us know where Bowles is coming from. Four short tales of Moroccan kif smokers open doors into worlds distant in time, space, and spiritual reality from millennial America. Bowles' style is distantly reminiscent of Hemingway in its bare simplicity, but also evocative of the South American magical realists in its exploration of the miraculous. Each of his heroes is a kif smoker, and each finds it to be a useful and integral part of his life. Whether dealing with difficult neighbors in "A Friend of the World" or avoiding the cops in "He of the Assembly," smokers have a definite edge in Bowles' Morocco. But this is no simple paean--the stupid everyday troubles that also spring from kif are presented vividly and humorously (the soldier who loses his gun in "The Wind at Beni Midar" perfectly captures the zenith and nadir of chronic use). Short but satisfying, "A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard" makes an excellent introduction to Paul Bowles' work.