Only 3 hours from the British mainland, Morocco feels like a world away. From the city souks in Fes, Marrakech and Rabat to the coastal resorts of Agadir and Essaouira, to the deserts, and the cool Atlas Mountains (where skiing is perfectly possible at Oukaimeden, 45 minutes from Marrakech), the variety of experience is vast. Exotic Kasbahs and riads, medinas and markets read about them all in these novels.
A smart, middle aged couple accepts a party invitation to a beautifully renovated ksar, nestled in a remote area of the Moroccan desert. On the way there, they accidentally run over and kill a seller of fossils, and consequences of nightmare proportions ensue. This is a sinister and gripping novel that wonderfully evokes the red heat of the desert, the culture, and the people.
This novel, which inspired the film of the same name starring Kate Winslet, retells the story of the authors childhood in Morocco in the 1960s, living with her mother Julia and older sister. Her mother is weary of conventional life in England, and uproots both her children to live a hand to mouth existence. This is life seen through the eyes of a young child, fragmented, oberservational, and where colour, sights and smells are wonderfully rendered.
A fascinating take on the traditional stories that have permeated the history of Morocco, Shah brings together a world and a way of thinking, folklore and myths that give his readers a wonderful feel for the country. The authors style is inspired and his observations can be full of humour; and he has a terrific ear for dialogue.
Join the ELLE Book Club here: This month's pick is Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth