The Sheltering Sky

By Paul Bowles,

Book cover of The Sheltering Sky

Book description

'The Sheltering Sky is a book about people on the edge of an alien space; somewhere where, curiously, they are never alone' Michael Hoffman.

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,…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Sheltering Sky as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I have always loved things (books, films, museum exhibits) that make me feel that the universe is so very, very big, and I am so very, very small. The awe that comes with eternity and such vastness has always had a place deep, so deep, in my soul.

During the summer of 2007, I read Albert Camus’ The Stranger and that book hit a place in my soul so hard, I don’t think it’s come loose. The bleak existentialism, the rawness of the narration, the concrete and abstract images of North Africa, were like nothing I’d ever read before –…

I first read The Sheltering Sky on a train to New York. I was so caught up in the book, I hated to get off at Penn Station.

It feels as if the novel sprang directly from the author’s subconscious,  and it has an eerie way of burrowing into the reader’s thoughts and dreams. An American couple (modeled on Bowles and his wife Jane) embark on a journey deep into the North African desert. To say they have a complicated marriage is an understatement.

The murky sexuality of the characters, the astonishing descriptions of the landscape and the sky, and…

It is a notion that Paul Bowles realizes intuitively in his deeply philosophical novel The Sheltering Sky. For Bowles, it is our memories, not simply our flesh, that render life so precious, so fleeting. “How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood,” Bowles writes, “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.”

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