Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Sheltering Sky

Title: The Sheltering Sky
Author: Paul Bowles
The Ecco Press, 1977 (1949)

Married couple Port and Kit are travelling around northern Africa after the conclusion of WWII. Their journey is without purpose, their lives without meaning and their money motions them along and rids them of all true interest in the continent and its people. But Africa is not a Hollywood flick that you can detach yourself from and idly watch as if from a distance, and before long they are forced into circumstances where money is worth nothing, and disaster will have to be faced whether they like it or not.

This is a great novel that gains pace half-way in (i.e. don't give up reading it too soon). There is an oppressive feeling of doom despite - or maybe because of - the light-weight characters, and the novel offers an interesting, albeit somewhat conventional, take on colonialism.

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