The historical San Miguel cemetery in Malaga was recently the scene of an emotional reunion. Thursday 4 May was the 50th anniversary of the death of Jane Bowles, who was the wife of Paul Bowles as well as a brilliant writer with few works, a passionate life and an unfortunate end. The American spent her last six years in Malaga; she had come from Tangiers to treat serious health problems, physical and mental, caused, they say, by being poisoned by one of her female lovers - their marriage was very much an open one on both sides - and she died in the Reposo de Los Ángeles clinic.
Her grave, restored a decade ago by the also now defunct municipal book institute, is made from Finnish black marble that is still spotless and has become a cult place after several events that were on the verge of exhumation, and there this tribute became official.
Writer Alfredo Taján, who was behind an extensive programme of activities at the time, brought together a group of writers, poets, readers and admirers of the writer. The act was presided over by the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, and members of the opposition. After readings of letters, poems and texts dedicated to the writer, flowers were laid on the grave, and to close this beautiful tribute, cellist Beatriz Claudio played a piece of music next to the grave.
Malaga wouldn't be the same without its visitors. Malaga breathes the air left behind by so many restless guests, moral wanderers, extraordinary long-term travellers who came to discover us, without colonising us, and giving in to a specific form of hedonism while they were here. For these nomads the Costa was like a great find, a bright light that bounced off the Mediterranean at a time when it was still grey, and this territory, sometimes with no memory, took in with its crazy hospitality, some great characters attracted by an ambience halfway between delirium and creativity and with the promise of an eternal spring.
This was the case of Jane Bowles, who found herself in Malaga by accident, perhaps through a sophisticated form of health tourism and, despite being ill, she went through alternating periods of torment and calm, she received friends, among them her husband Paul Bowles, and in her short outings she strolled around Malaga, stayed at the Malaga Palacio and drank in the legendary and now defunct cafeteria La Cosmopolita. Our proximity to Tangiers at the time was not just territorial. There was also a twinning formula that traps cities with ports, with scoundrels and vampires that come out at night.
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