Sheltering Sky (1990)


Tunner : We're probably the first tourists they've had since the war.
Kit Moresby: Tunner, we're not tourists. We're travelers.
Tunner : Oh. What's the difference?
Port Moresby: A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive, Tunner.
Kit Moresby : Whereas a traveler might not come back at all.
Tunner: You mean I'm a tourist.
Kit Moresby : Yes, Tunner. And I'm half and half.


"In 1931, without any preconceived notion of what I should find there, I paid a visit to Morocco. Two months, I thought, would suffice for seeing the place. And so they would have if what I saw had not awakened a wish to see more, a wish which seemed to grow even as it was being satisfied. At first it expressed itself as a desire to wander over the surface of the land. During that year and the succeeding three years I examined the remote corners of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and the northern Sahara, sometimes renting a small house, sometimes being the guest of a Moslem family, but usually spending only a night or two in a room of some establishment that hopefully called itself a hotel, before moving on to the next place. After the War I returned to Morocco and bought a home there. This time I became aware of the fact that it was not the landscape I wanted to know, but the people.

A Distant Episode and The Delicate Prey are products of the earlier period; they date from 1945 and 1948 respectively. There is some reason for my taking a defensive attitude in discussing these two tales. I still live in Morocco and have many Moslem friends. The few of these who have read them do not think highly of them. It is easy to understand why, since they seem to go out of their way to present the Moslems in an unflattering light. The fact that both tales are based on actual occurrences is beside the point; every story has to come from somewhere, inside or outside, and these two happened to come out of conversations I had with people in the Sahara. Even if I had invented them wholly, instead of only stumbling upon the nucleus of each tale, their truth or lack of it would still have to be gauged according to other than factual criteria, since primarily they are tales not about human beings, but about a place. The place is the Sahara, synonym of emptiness, silence and death, a region whose impact upon the senses and imagination is clearly expressed in terms of inhuman and brutal behavior. The Moslems consider writing to be a means of influencing opinions. Thus to them such an approach is an immoral one. because it presents atypical behavior. But even they, when they tell their own tales to one another, stress the extraordinary, rather than the usual."
―Paul Bowles

About the Author

nomadez / Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.

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