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Publisher's Summary

The Sheltering Sky is a landmark of 20th-century literature, a novel of existential despair that examines the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness of the desert. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream) gives masterful voice to this American classic.

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.”

The Sheltering Sky is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star helped select. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.

©1949 Paul Bowles (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kelly
  • SPRINGFIELD, TENNESSEE, United States
  • 08-05-17

Intriguing story despite unlikeable characters

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great rhapsodizing about the settings. An interesting study on human nature and people venturing out of their comfort zones.

What other book might you compare The Sheltering Sky to and why?

I kept thinking of Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, but maybe it's because the settings were the same and probably because the main characters are based on the author and his wife - Paul and Jane Bowles

Which character – as performed by Jennifer Connelly – was your favorite?

They were all great. She does amazing accents.

If you could take any character from The Sheltering Sky out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Port, who was the most likeable character out of a cast of unlikeable characters. It's probably due to the fact that the author injects a lot of himself into the main character, so his intelligence would be fascinating and entertaining. Also, he was a realist and a surrealist at the same time.

Any additional comments?

Simultaneously satisfying, haunting and annoying at the same time. It says a lot about how intriguing the story is when the characters are hard to like or identify with. I adore Jennifer Connelly's narration.

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Depressing and dull.

Wanted to read a book to re-kindle my urge for novels. This one is hands down the most depressing. Avoid it if you don't want to be depressed.

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Jennifer Connelly totally, totally gets it.

What made the experience of listening to The Sheltering Sky the most enjoyable?

As I am a somewhat recent and formerly reluctant convert to Audible, I am realizing how much an inspired reading can impact my reading experience. In the wrong hands, this book could come off flat, dismal or worse. Jennifer Connelly nails this from start to finish.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sheltering Sky?

Kit's sojourn with Belqassim is eerily entrancing.

What about Jennifer Connelly’s performance did you like?

I speak neither French nor Arabic, so to my ears her command of both was convincing. She perfectly captured the tone of ennui throughout the book. In a way, she was both narrator and companion as the tale progressed.

If you could rename The Sheltering Sky, what would you call it?

Why tamper with perfection?

Any additional comments?

This is a book I might actually listen to again. Others I would recommend for excellent narration are: Michael C. Hall voicing "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; Donald Sutherland voicing "The Old Man and the Sea" and Will Patton voicing "On the Road".

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Sense of place

Jennifer Connolly does an amazing job bringing this story to life. It's a bit odd, though, the story; I never did find out why Kit and Port's marriage was so odd, separate, but all in all a fine boom that takes you to many places and through a period of time.

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A flawless narration of Paul Bowles finest books

Would you consider the audio edition of The Sheltering Sky to be better than the print version?

I consider Jennifer Connelly narration of this book to be the highest honour one could give to the genius of writer Paul Bowles

Who was your favorite character and why?

Both of the main characters of the book were well so well portrayed each were equally believable

Have you listened to any of Jennifer Connelly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I would read anything Jennifer Connelly narrates she is one of the finest female narraters I have listened to

If you could take any character from The Sheltering Sky out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would rather go to on a trip to the desert [than out to dinner] with either of the main characters

Any additional comments?

Jennifer Connellys narration of this book was like pouring honey over the sophisticated prose of Paul Bowles to make the passages sound as smooth as silk

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Story

Depressilng!

What would have made The Sheltering Sky better?

Not ever being published

What was most disappointing about Paul Bowles’s story?

If I want to be this depressed in the future, I'll gamble away my savings.

Which character – as performed by Jennifer Connelly – was your favorite?

All three self-centered characters muddle about endlessly; so boring I almost dropped off to sleep while on my daily walk.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not that I could see.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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What a bunch of screwed up people!



Superb performance by the reader.
I suppose the book itself was evocative of the desert in N. Africa to some extent, but none of the characters were sympathetic. I just wanted to slap them in the face and say "get a grip". They were mostly wallowing in some malaise along the lines of " Oh, the horror, the horror of it all (life)". Pathetic.

Save your time unless you like (pathetic) losers.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 01-06-16

Post War Post Colonial Moral Nihilism

This is a remarkably well written first novel from 1949. The story is a rather simple drama set in the Saraha desert. The characters seem to represent the different effects WWII had on humanity.

Although the writing was excellent, my overall experience of this book was marginal. I think the greatness of this book was being powerfully of, and for, its time. For those who had recently experienced WWII, this book may have been superb, for me it provided and interesting historical perspective.

At the time Tennessee Williams said this novel bears the spiritual imprint of recent history in the western world (post WWII). Here the imprint is not visible upon the surface of the novel. It exists far more significantly in a certain philosophical aura that envelopes it.

I did not love the narration but it was not particularly bad.

7 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Jordan
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 03-14-15

Terrible narration

Why is this narrator so popular? Everything she says sounds soft, monotone and like she is trying to be deep. I actually think I could enjoy this book but not with this narrator. Even tense moments are dulled over with this terrible monotone 'reading' style. This style of reading is my BIGGEST pet peeve, returning this one.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Strange story well performed

This is such a strange story with the main female character one of dubious sensibilities. It was narrated very well, though, so I stuck with it just to see what would happen.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful