The Sheltering Sky Quotes

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The Sheltering Sky The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
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The Sheltering Sky Quotes (showing 1-30 of 41)
“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
“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 that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“The soul is the weariest part of the body.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
tags: soul
“[A]nother important difference between tourist and traveler is that the former accepts his own civilization without question; not so the traveler, who compares it with the others, and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely where it was he had felt most at home.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“How fragile we are under the sheltering sky. Behind the sheltering sky is a vast dark universe, and we're just so small.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“She was saved from prettiness by the intensity of her gaze.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Illness reduces man to his basic state: a cloaca in which the chemical processes continue. The meaningless hegemony of the involuntary.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“He awoke, opened his eye. The room meant very little to him; he was too deeply immersed in the non-being from which he had just come. If he had not the energy to ascertain his position in time and space, he also lacked the desire. ... In utter comfort, utter relaxation he lay absolutely still for a while, and then sank back into on the the light momentary sleeps that occur after a long, profound one.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
tags: sleep
“Because we don't know when we will die, 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 watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Because neither she nor Port had ever lived a life of any kind of regularity, they had both made the fatal error of coming hazily to regard time as non-existent. One year was like another year. Eventually everything would happen.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“When I was young” … “Before I was twenty, I mean, I used to think that life was a thing that kept gaining impetus, it would get richer and deeper each year. You kept learning more, getting wiser, having more insight, going further into the truth” – she hesitated.

Port laughed abruptly. – “And now you know it’s not like that. Right? It’s more like smoking a cigarette. The first few puffs it tasted wonderful, and you don’t even think of its ever being used up. Then you begin taking it for granted. Suddenly you realize it’s nearly burned down to the end. And then’s when you’re conscious of the bitter taste.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“We've never managed, either one of us, to get all the way into life. We're hanging on to the outside for all we're worth, convinced we're going to fall off at the next bump.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“A black star appears, a point of darkness in the night sky's clarity. Point of darkness and gateway to repose. Reach out, pierce the fine fabric of the sheltering sky, take repose.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“the sky here's very strange. I often have the sensation when I look at it that it's a solid thing up there, protecting us from what's behind . . . [from] nothing, I suppose. Just darkness. Absolute night.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“One never took the time to savour the details; one said: another day, but always with the hidden knowledge that each day was unique and fatal, that there never would be a return, another time.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Whenever he was en route from one place to another, he was able to look at his life with a little more objectivity than usual. it was often on trpis that he thought most clearly, and made the decisions that he could not reach when he was stationary.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
tags: travel
“Whoever invented the concept of fairness, anyway? Isn't everything easier if you simply get rid of the idea of justice altogether? You think the quantity of pleasure, the degree of suffering is constant among all men?”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Many days later another caravan was passing and a man saw something on top of the highest dune there. And when they went up to see, they found Outka, Mimouna and Aicha; they were still there, lying the same way as when they had gone to sleep. And all three of the glasses,' he held up his own little tea glass, 'were full of sand. That was how they had their tea in the Sahara.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Death is always on its way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life....we get to think of life as an inexhaustable well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times...How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet is all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“Someone once had said to her that the sky hides the night behind it, shelters the person beneath from the horror that lies above. Unblinking, she fixed the solid emptiness, and the anguish began to move in her. At any moment the rip can occur, the edges fly back, and the giant maw will be revealed.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“The desert landscape is always at its best in the half-light of dawn or dusk. The sense of distance lacks: a ridge nearby can be a far-off mountain range, each small detail can take on the importance of a major variant on the countryside's repetitious theme. The coming of day promises a change; it is only when the day had fully arrived that the watcher suspects it is the same day returned once again--the same day he has been living for a long time, over and over, still blindingly bright and untarnished by time.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“There's something repulsive about an American without money in his pocket.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“He did not think of himself as a tourist; he was a traveler. The difference is partly one of time, he would explain. Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler, belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly, over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“The bar was stuffy and melancholy. It was full of the sadness inherent in all deracinated things.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“The people of each country get more like the people of every other country. They have no character, no beauty, no ideals, no culture-nothing, nothing.”…
“Everything’s getting gray, and it’ll be grayer.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“The idea that at each successive moment he was deeper into the Sahara than he had been the moment before, that he was leaving behind all familiar things, this constant consideration kept him in a state of pleasurable agitation.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“These were the first moments of a new existence, a strange one in which she already glimpsed the element of timelessness that would surround her. The person who frantically has been counting the seconds on his way to catch a train, and arrives panting just as it disappears, knowing the next one is not due for many hours, feels something of the same sudden surfeit of time, the momentary sensation of drowning in an element become too rich and too plentiful to be consumed, and thereby made meaningless, non-existent.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
“And it occurred to him that a walk through the countryside was a sort of epitome of the passage through life itself. One never took the time to savor the details; one said: another day, but always with the hidden knowledge that each day was unique and final, that there never would be a return, another time.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

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