97. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

My local library is changing their database system, so the online library catalog and book reserve system has been down for two weeks. Panic seized my heart, until a trip to Half Price Books when my friend Caitlin and I had an adventure in downtown Houston. I found a copy of my next book. Oh joy! Rapture!

The Sheltering Sky is the first novel by Paul Bowles, who was well-known for his musical composing before he began writing. Bowles was an American expatriate living in Paris with Aaron Copland when he made his first visit to Tangier, Morocco in 1931. He traveled through North Africa extensively, but settled permanently in Tangier — when he died in 1999, he had spent 53 of his 88 years in Tangier.

The Sheltering Sky reflects aspects of Bowles’ life; Port and Kit Moresby, a married couple from New York, travel to North Africa with their friend Tunner. The journey, initially an attempt by Port and Kit to resolve their marital difficulties, is quickly made fraught by the travelers’ ignorance of the dangers that surround them. According to the blurb on the back cover of my copy, it is a psychological thriller. Tennessee Williams reviewed the novel glowingly when it was released, so bring on the sweltering desert.

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