Morocco in Books
Our Favorite Books about Morocco
A house in Fez by Suzanna Clarke
The Medina -- the Old City -- of Fez is the best-preserved, medieval walled city in the world. Inside this vibrant Moroccan community, internet cafes and mobile phones coexist with a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, thousand-year-old sewer systems, and Arab-style houses, gorgeous with intricate, if often shabby, mosaic work.
While vacationing in Morocco, Suzanna Clarke and her husband, Sandy, are inspired to buy a dilapidated, centuries-old riad in Fez with the aim of restoring it to its original splendor, using only traditional craftsmen and handmade materials. So begins a remarkable adventure that is bewildering, at times hilarious, and ultimately immensely rewarding.
A House in Fez chronicles their meticulous restoration, but it is also a journey into Moroccan customs and lore and a window into the lives of its people as friendships blossom. When the riad is finally returned to its former glory, Suzanna finds she has not just restored an old house, but also her soul.
The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco
by Richard Hamilton
Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco’s ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in Jemaa el Fna, the legendary square of the city, to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. The competing distractions of television, movies, and the Internet have drawn the crowds away from the storytellers and few have the desire to learn the stories and continue their legacy. Richard Hamilton has witnessed first-hand the death throes of this rich and captivating tradition and, in the labyrinth of the Marrakech medina, has tracked down the last few remaining storytellers, recording stories that are replete with the mysteries and beauty of the Maghreb.
Morocco that was by Walter Harris
Here are the vanished days of the unfettered Sultanate in all their dark, melodramatic splendor-a mingling of magnificence with squalor, culture with barbarism, refined cruelty with naïve humor. Until 1912 Morocco never suffered foreign domination, and its mountainous interior was as closed to foreigners as Tibet. Walter Harris (1866-1933), though, was the exception. He first visited in 1887 and lived in the country for more than thirty-five years, and as the Times correspondent had observed every aspect of its life. He was an intimate of at least three of the ruling Sultans (as well as King Edward VII) and a man capable even of befriending his kidnapper. It was said that only three Christians had ever visited the walled city of Chechaouen: one was poisoned, one came for an hour disguised as a rabbi, and the other was Harris. Originally published in 1921, Morocco That Was is alternately sharp, melodramatic, and extremely funny. ""The combination of perceptive and reliable observer, and romantic eccentric, makes this book a classic of its genre.""- Times Literary Supplement.