This fascinating story follows three American travelers, a married couple and their friend, as they find themselves adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II. Along the walkabout, their ignorance of the dangers that surround them peels back the veneer of their lives. The author’s life as an expatriate in the North African nation of Morocco informed his rendering of the desert, which itself is a cruel, unforgiving character in the novel.
“Paul Bowles’ writing is so extraordinary, so special,” Ms. Connelly said. “The landscapes are magical, the characters are questioning so much – it’s haunting in a very beautiful way.”
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Von BikerJoe Am hilfreichsten 01.12.2015
Lost Love, Guilt and Pain under the African Sky
Undoubtedly this is a great book and an outstanding, unusual book, a psychological masterpiece, set into the harsh and unforgiving environment of the North-African desert. The story touches the core of our desire for love and understanding and the essence of our being. Jennifer Connelly is the incredible voice of this haunting story.
Three US-Americans, a married couple and its friend, intend to spend world war II in the deserts of North-Africa. Port and Kit, the married couple, hope to breathe some life into their stale marriage and they invite Tunner, Port’s friend, to join them on the trip. The trip is doomed right from the start. Tunner’s presence makes it even more difficult for Port to reach out to Kit and they become even more estranged than before. There is still love between Kit and Port, but they are not capable to break down the barrier between them. While Port feels a deep and vague longing for the beauty and solitude of the desert, Kit sees their trip as an odyssey of discomfort and suffering. In her despair and boredom, Kit betrays Port with Tunner and the ensuing guilt makes the trip even more unbearable for her. The growing tension leads to the break-up of the trio and Port ventures deeper into the desert with Kit, where disaster finally strikes. In a small remote desert town Port dies from typhoid and Kit loses the little sanity, she still owns. In an act of utter despair and as a kind of self-inflicted punishment, she joins a desert bound caravan and becomes the slave and later wife of an Arab merchant.
In many reviews the typical inability of Americans to understand foreign cultures and the consequences of this lack of comprehension is seen as the main theme of the story. I cannot agree with that. For me the North-African desert is the mere stage for the human disaster taking place. The merciless description of the damaged relationship between Port and Kit, their suffering and the complete inability to reach out to each other is heart wrenching. The psychology of the trio’s relationship is so accurate and true, it is painful to read at times.
It is an incredible book, but in its reality and truth, it is painful to read at times.
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