14 June, 2011
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (1949)
I heard David Marr say recently that we are forever marked by our high school texts. Mine was Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which I went on to wrestle with at university, and now I see it in almost everything. The Sheltering Sky is a Saharan variant, and a masterful one at that. Port and Kit’s sometimes brutal odyssey through 1940’s North Africa is a rare sort of love story. Like couscous on the steam, you know there is searing heat underneath but can’t quite see it. I’m stoked this is going to be re-released as a Penguin cheapie. Read it before you see the (very good) Bertolucci adaptation.