Hmm. I'm still not convinced by Bowles, but I love the cover of my copy, the 1956 US paperback edition, bought in Rome many years ago from a German second-hand book dealer who was later arrested for rape.
The blurb on the back of the book continues in much the same lurid vein:
HAUNTING HORRORAlong the top runs the legend ...Good Reading for the Millions.
This is an unusual and fascinating book. It exposes the violent impulses that lurk in the hearts of primitive and ruthless men and women. In seventeen shocking stories, Paul Bowles masterfully reveals strange and twisted passions in exotic corners of the world.
What's hardest to imagine now is a world in which this kind of thing wasn't tongue-in-cheek.