Peter's Reviews > The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
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's review
Aug 09, 15

Read from July 20 to 29, 2011

Beautifully written and immensely engrossing, some passages speak truth in their descriptions of human existence and the nature of time. A particularly insightful passage I have "liked" as a quotation on this site. The book is largely about the effects of Western civilization, using Africa as a metaphor for the animal mind. One of the main characters eventually leaves civilization behind and joins the tides of the desert. Her transformation through this experience shows the way in which civilization has suppressed but not obliterated our animal instincts, and that an in an existence closer to nature we would rely on instinct and impulse more so than rationality. He shares the same knack for psychological analysis as the other beat writers of his time.
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Quotes Peter Liked

Paul Bowles
“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

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