The Sheltering Sky

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HarperCollins, Oct 24, 2000 - Fiction - 320 pages
26 Reviews

When The Sheltering Sky was first published in 1949, it established Paul Bowles as one of the most singular and promising writers of the postwar generation. Its startlingly original vision has withstood the test of time and confirmed Tennessee Williams's early estimation: "The Sheltering Sky alone of the books that I have . . . read by American authors appears to bear the spiritual imprint of recent history in the western world." In this classic work of psychological terror, Bowles examines the ways in which Americans apprehend an alien culture and the ways in which their incomprehension destroys them.

The story of three worldly young travelers Port Moresby, his wife, Kit, and their friend, Tunner--adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky is merciless in its evocation of the emotional dislocation induced by a foreign setting. As the Americans embark on an ill-fated journey through desolate terrain, they are pushed to the limits of human reason and intelligence by the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert. Along the way, they encounter a host of enigmatic characters whose inarticulate strangeness seals the travelers off even more completely from the culture in which they are traveling, causing their fierce attachments to one another to unravel.

This special fiftieth anniversary commemorative edition of Bowles's unforgettable first novel includes the original New York Times review by Tennessee Williams and a preface the author wrote for his first novel before he died in 1999.

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Review: The Sheltering Sky, Let it Come Down, The Spider's House

User Review  - Eric Steere - Goodreads

I first came across Bowles' before a trip to Morocco. His world and the detached realism of his travel writings were very attractive, as were the equally detached but disturbing short stories I read ... Read full review

Review: The Sheltering Sky, Let it Come Down, The Spider's House

User Review  - Mommalibrarian - Goodreads

The Sheltering Sky ------------------ Two twenty-somethings from New York, on a whim, arrive in North Africa and begin to travel south to smaller and smaller isolated locations. Why? The woman, Kit ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Paul Bowles was born in Queens, New York, in 1910. He began his travels as a teenager, setting off for Paris, telling no one of his plans. In 1930 he visited Morocco for the first time, with Aaron Copland, with whom he was studying music. His early reputation was as a composer and he wrote the scores for several Tennessee Williams plays. Bowles married the writer Jane Auer in 1938, and after the war the couple settled in Tangier. In Morocco Bowles turned principally to fiction. The Sheltering Sky—inspired by his travels in the Sahara—was a New York Times bestseller in 1950, and has gone on to sell more than 250,000 copies. It was followed by three further novels, numerous short stories, nonfiction, and translations. Bowles died in Tangier in 1999.

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