A very strange book, and a very seductive one. Port Moseby and his wife, Kit, are traveling in North Africa with their annoying friend Tunner. They turn out to be en route to oblivion, a passage that brings them up against the desert, the Arabs, the French colonizers, a very unsavory mother/son combination and their enigmatic selves. Bowles, who lived much of his life in Tangiers, knew the enticing other-ness of Algeria and Morocco, enough to know that you can write about it in straightforward, unadorned prose—are you listening, Lawrence Durrell?—and still not fail to convey its treacherous beguilements. The last of this book’s three sections, when Kit is given over to her fate in the desert, is one of the damnedest things you will ever read.
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