The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky

Book - 1949
Average Rating:
3
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Random House, Inc.
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.

Baker & Taylor
Three Americans drifting through postwar North Africa encounter the limits of human existence in the form of a land and a people utterly alien to them

Publisher: New Directions, [1949]
ISBN: 9780679729792
0679729798
9780880015820
0880015829
9780060199166
0060199164
Characteristics: 318 p

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Candaceb108
Sep 16, 2016

The commenter dixielib summed up my feeling exactly. I would add that I think Bowles was going for a Laurence Durrell kind of feel. He failed. One was not swept away with the story, one was astonished at the total incapability of 3 young, wealthy, educated Americans to cope with a mess of their own making. The female character is the most interesting, but damned if I've ever met anyone so helpless and cowardly, even given given it was written in 1949. Pages of rambling that the author evidently saw as marks of genius.

c
cainsriver
Jun 30, 2014

Three Americans tour the small villages of Morocco a few years after the end of WWll. An interesting tale of betrayal and redemption, the characters are well defined and believable. Also offers a glimpse into Arab culture and the perils of life in the desert. After reading, I gained a better appreciation of my own country, and the bountiful rivers, lakes, and forests...

d
dixielib
Dec 14, 2012

An unsatisfying book, recounting an implausible story of sheer fantasy with no/little pretensions of reality. I chose the book expecting to glean cultural insight of places (Algeria in this case) that I’ll never visit, based on book-cover and online write-ups with remarks such as “devastatingly imaginative observer of the West’s encounter with the East” and “Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans’ incomprehension of alien cultures leads to the ultimate destruction of those cultures.” The book attained none of this, it dwelled for pages on sheer fantasy and offered no cultural insights beyond recounting the heat and grit of African life, with both of which I’m already familiar.

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