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The Sheltering Sky

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'"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 ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Sheltering Sky

Overall customer rating: 5.000
gnomey

Bleak

by gnomey on May 25, 2010

This book sticks with you for a long time after you've put it back on the shelf. Port and Kit are a bored married couple, travelling and looking to rekindle their earlier romance. They've brought their friend Tunner along, a seemingly strange choice for a romantic getaway. The strangest choice is that their getaway is to the wild deserts of North Africa - no map, no travel itinerary, no vaccinations. Even more foolishly, they trust every random stranger they meet along the way. Of course, unpleasant things happen to them.

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andidextruss

Structurally experimental adventure

by andidextruss on Sep 30, 2007

As Tennessee Williams points out in the introduction, this novel is much more about atmosphere and cultural awareness than it is about character or plot. We are led to believe that the protagonist is a lonely, repressed man travelling with his ebullient wife in North Africa. However, partway through the book, his wife takes center stage. Bowles is able to articulate, through sparse language and a detailed landscape, what it means for Euro-Americans to encounter a North African culture in a post-colonial era. Rather than situate Muslims or Arabs in a "heart of darkness" atmosphere of fear, he infuses them with mystery, assuredness, and self-confidence. It's the white ex-patriots that struggle to feel genuinely, experience intimacy, and lose their self-consciousness in their escape from WWII's devastation. The brilliant title, the "sheltering sky" refers to the feeling the displaced wanderers have that the sky is a mere veil separating them from the horrid, desolate frontier of space. It functions as a fitting metaphor for the characters' alienation from the universe and, ultimately, themselves.

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Zeugitai

Essential Reading

by Zeugitai on Sep 13, 2007

This novel owns a berth in the pantheon of great novels! Do yourself a favor and read it.

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