The story of three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II examines the way Americans apprehend an alien culture and the way their incomprehension destroys them.
Port and Kit Moresbury, a sophisticated American couple, are finding it more than a little difficult to live with each other. Endeavouring to escape this predicament, they set off for North Africa intending to travel through Morocco – uncertain of exactly where they are heading, but determined to leave the modern world behind. Port, a musician, is seeking inspiration; Kit, his wife, hopes their adventure together will save their marriage… The first novel of one of the most fascinating and elusive writers of modern times, 'The Sheltering Sky' is a mesmerising story of love and alienation.
‘'Now and then, perhaps once in five or six years, a novel appears which does not repeat the pattern of commonplace existence that readers of novels know so well, but makes us realise that our life is extraordinary. 'The Sheltering Sky' is such a novel.'’
‘'A phenomenon rarer than sword-swallowing: a work of fiction which also happens to be a work of art'’
'’Sexual perversion, spiritual bankruptcy, violence, madness, nihilism – that's what Bowles writes about… it is the way he uses intricate frameworks of language to contain and control a vision of near-total horror that makes him an original and important writer.’'
'’Remarkably gifted – Bowles relates his story in prose of such acuity that it is believable and chilling. This classic demands to be read.'’
‘'His work is art. At his best, Bowles has no peer.’’
This extraordinary novel envelops the reader with shimmering images and deft characterisation. Amongst all this, there is a message about the hollowness of the American post-war experience. The protagonists feel compelled to explore alien territory but their search for discovery is engulfed by the vastness of the desert. The way the plot unfolds is totally unexpected but conventional narrative wouldn't make sense here. North Africa is different and in this book Bowles lucidly demonstrates why this is the case.
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