Synopses & 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 50th 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.
"Stands head and shoulders above most other novels published in English since World War II." New Republic
"His art far exceeds that of...the greatest American writers of our day." Gore Vidal
"[The Sheltering Sky] is one of the most original, even visionary, works of fiction to appear in this century." Tobias Wolff
The Sheltering Sky
is a landmark of twentieth-century literature. In this intensely fascinating story, Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans' incomprehension of alien cultures leads to the ultimate destruction of those cultures.
A story about three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky explores the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
About the Author
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.