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Just like Webster’s Dictionary, I’m Morocco bound

I was going on holiday to Morocco so I thought I’d prepare by reading Paul Bowles’ celebrated novel, The Sheltering Sky. It’s about a young American couple drifting across North Africa, and Bowles lived most of his life in Tangiers, so I thought he’d capture the atmosphere pretty well.

Big mistake. The Sheltering Sky is full of atmosphere, but it’s a suffocating gloom. Just about everything leads to death and madness. The American, English and French characters are repulsive and the Arabs no better: women fare particularly badly. Bowles’ prose is frequently superb, but by the end of the…

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