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The Scorpion Fish


The narrator arrives in his 117th rented room at the end of an epic journey, abandoned by his lover, almost broke and certainly feverish. His obsession with the insects he shares the room with and his beautifully articulated observations of himself on the edge of a physical and mental collapse extend out to include the insect-like habitués of the local café – the charlatans, the indolent landowners and even a levitating priest who has been dead for six years. This razor-sharp chronicle of experience, which grew out of Bouvier’s seven-month stay on the island of Ceylon, shows that if you travel, you must be prepared to discover not only delights but also the worst as well.

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