The Sheltering Sky
A story about three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky explores...more
The Sahara Desert called unto them. It beckoned them deeper into its vast emptiness. They went. What were they running from? What were they seeking? What did they find?
Port Moresby and his wife Kit have come to Algeria to get away from the Second World War. But the large coastal cities of North Africa have beco...more
This quote is from Eduardo Mallea, and it begins The Sheltering Sky with that strange act of framing that so many authors employ, using the words of others to summarize or introduce the feelings that they are about to try to invoke in their readers. Above this quote is another phrase: "Tea in the Sahara," a chapter title, now-familiar but difficult to place. This was taken by none other than the band The...more
Whether its effect on my li...more
I've read almost all of Bowles' other stuff, and some of it comes close to this (especially Let it Come Down), bu...more
So it pains me to report that not even the chance of such a obscured jewel could keep me interested in A Sheltering Sk...more
Later, many days later, I came to with a throbbing headache and a sour taste in my mouth. The crystal turned out to be crystal meth and it had severely eroded my judgement. What I had taken to be beautiful and enticing was just a jaded street hustler peddling the same old weary goods that had been around the block just too m...more
A lot of shit goes down. At first you might think that you are just witnessing the deterioration of a marria...more
Port feels Africa is less marred by war, and aims to spend a long period of time there. It’s not that he would fit in, he just wants to escape, or disappear. He may hope to flee his emptiness, but unfort...more
I remember announcing to a once bookish friend that I intend to read this right after finishing the book that I was currently reading at that time. It must be Gilead, since it is the book that I wrote about prior to this. I then went to the bathroom and when I returned, he gave me his approval.
He said he likes the opening chapter, which is only two pages long. If I remember it right, it is something about waking up in a Northern African hotel room with the...more
Bowles does an amazing job of describing the landscape (sub-Saharan Africa after WWII), the sickness of one of...more
Bowles opens Pandora’s box at the end when Kit suffers a psychotic break and he writes it as a series of inexplicable choices made through pain and terror. If he really wanted to take...more
Back with more ... heading into Part II.
12/28/08: A piece of writing by Donald Powell [link now dead-sorry!:] caused me to think about this book, and my very different response to it from when I first read it in my early 20s to 20 years later, when I am--ahem--not in my early 20s.
"Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the fu...more
Bowles, P. (1949). The Sheltering Sky. New York: Harper Perennial.
This post-WWII classic is similar in mood and tone to Camus’ L’Etranger. It is set in the Sahara of Northern Africa during the war, about 1940. A young, American married couple, Port and Kit, travel with their male friend, Tunner from town to town, village to village, in Algeria, mostly. They are footloose adventurers, not tourists. They have no return date, no agenda, no motivation, no interest in the local people,...more
Paul Bowles had already established himself as an important composer when at age 39 he published The Sheltering Sky and became recognized as one of the most powerful writers of the postwar period. From his base in Tangier he produced globally ranging novels, stories, and travel writings that set exquisite surfaces over violent undercurrents. His elegantly spare novels chart the unpredictable collisions between "civilized" exiles and a Morocco they never grasp, achieving effects of extreme horro
Hemingway gave Jake Barnes a reason to be miserable, but even he wasn't merely a lay-about like the others, and...more
I ought to point out that I don’t necessarily think that the quality of the prose decline...more
It is the case with The Sheltering Sky- I saw part of the Bertolucci movie, which I did not enjoy, though I found the book brilliant, then I discovered that the book is included in The Top 100 Modern Library List...
The Sheltering Sky was a wonderful surprise for me: After two recent misfires with The Midnight's Children and The Decameron, I was afraid that I am losing my pleasure to read, the ability to concentr...more
In 1938 he married author and playwright Jane Auer (see: Jane Bowles). He moved to Tangiers permanently in 1947,...more