The Sheltering Sky, Marrakech 1990

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The Life of Paul Bowles, Avenue Magazine, Marrakech 1990

Paul Bowles was an American author and composer who lived most of his life in Morocco. His 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky about existential despair and unanticipated danger during a journey through the cities and deserts of North Africa just after World War II, is listed in the Time Magazine 100 Best English-language novels.

In 1938 Bowles married to Jane, an author and playwright who thought that she and Paul were so incompatible that they should be in a museum. She was extravagant, Paul was reserved. She showed her feelings and was out of control, he was disciplined and used to hide his emotions. She drank heavily, and hated drugs, he didn’t drink but smoked kif, considering it part of his creative process.
They were prominent literary figures of New York throughout the 1940s. After World War II, in cosmopolitan Tangier, Paul and his wife were the centre of a group of artists including William Burroughs, Francis Bacon, Allen Ginsberg, and Cecil Beaton.

Their marriage was very unconventional: they both had intimate relationships with others and pursued their own sexual interests. Like forerunners of the Peace and Love Movement of the 1960s.Sometimes they lived separately and had daily lunch appointments, but they did stay together, maintaining close personal ties based on mutual respect.

 

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