The sheltering sky

Latest in our Club de Lectura (Reading Club) in the Carboneras Library:

Bowles, Paul. The sheltering sky. New York: New Directions, 1949. (El cielo protector, traducción de Aurora Bermúdez. Suma de Letras, S.L., 2000).

Three young Americans with enough money to do whatever they want but with no ambition to do anything in particular bumble into the unforgiving North African desert, where one of them loses his innocence, another his life, and the third her soul and sanity. The harsh beauty of the desert, the hopeless naïveté of the clueless adventurers, and the symbiotic rhythms of the Arab and black African peoples accustomed to this environment are beautifully evoked (even in this Spanish translation). The mostly strongly felt character is the young woman, Kit (Catherine) Moresby, whose sensual yearnings lead her deeply into sexual bondage and a will to become part of desert life. We also saw the 1990 film by Bernardo Bertolucci (John Malkovich and Debra Winger are wonderful as Port and Kit Moresby), which alters the story by bringing in Bowles himself as "narrator" and, regrettably, dropping several of the novel's most memorable secondary characters, including the two French military officers, the hotel-keeper Abdel Kader, and the humble and generous Jewish shopkeeper Daoud Zozeph. But the Tuareg who takes Kit into his harem is thoroughly convincing, and the camerawork effectively conveys the terror and the beauty of the desert and the cities, saloons, hotels and markets.

- Review of the book by Tennessee Williams
- Quotes from the book and Bowles' own remarks about how he wrote it
- Bio of Jane Bowles (who may have had something to do with Bowles's portrait of Kit Moresby)

No comments: