A novel by Paul Bowles, an American ex-pat writer who spent much of his later life in Morocco.

The story concerns an American couple, Port and Kate, and their wealthy companion, Tunner, as they travel through North Africa. It's a beautiful, bleak landscape that reflects a certain weariness of the soul that Port (who seems to be a stand-in for Bowles) suffers from and eventually succumbs to.

Bernardo Bertolucci also made a film by the same name. Bowles appears in the film, and narrates a bit as well. The film has noticable differences from the novel, but is full of the sweeping landscapes and striking framing for which Bertolucci is well known. The dialogue is particularly spare and yet communicative.

Bowles died in Tangier in 1999. He was a controversial but important literary figure in Morocco, because of his homosexuality, a somewhat colonialist tone to much of his own fiction, while at the same time he worked with local oral story-tellers to record their work for both Arabs and Westerners. He also translated many Moroccan works into English.

I recommend the book first, then the movie.