On the other hand what Bowles has created, it could be argued, is a charming, handsome villain with a smiling face; the kind of villain who has become a stock figure in modern thrillers. Evil, after all, need not be ugly and deformed. Caught in his web is a May/December American couple celebrating an anniversary in an unnamed Latin American country. He is much older, and their relationship seems strained at best. Even before the young villain appears on the scene there is a sense of impending menace in the story. The reader doesn't quite know what to expect, but it is clear that something bad is going to happen.
Although December 30th marks the one hundredth anniversary of Bowles' birth, his writing has much to tell the modern reader. In a world where the kind of cultural conflicts his work examines have become the headlines on the twenty four hour news channels, his work is even more of the moment than it was when he wrote it. This Library of America collection together with its companion volume is a fitting tribute to the writer's legacy.