This map plots the settings and references in The Sheltering Sky

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Oran, Algeria
Public DomainOran

There is a general consensus, among what Geoff Wisner refers to as more "attentive readers", that The Sheltering Sky begins and ends in the city of Oran, on the coast of Algeria. Algeria, rather than Morocco, would make more sense as the setting for The Sheltering Sky because its action ranges over much of the Sahara, a large portion of which lies within Algeria's borders.



Oran is also the setting for Albert Camus's 1947 novel The Plague. Camus describes the city as "the capital of boredom besieged by innocence and beauty." Today it is Algeria's second largest city, a major commercial centre with three universities, where floating hotels are being built to accommodate visitors.

Oran is also likely as the starting point for the Morsebys' journey because it is the place to which Kit is returned at the end of the novel. And indeed one line of dialogue in Chapter 29 may clinch it: "The Consul at Dakar advises sending her back to Oran." One of the last images of the book is the sun "dropping behind the bastions of Santa Cruz":


Oran Santa Cruz
Public DomainOran Santa Cruz