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The Last Storytellers,: Tales from the Heart of Morocco
 
 

The Last Storytellers,: Tales from the Heart of Morocco [Kindle Edition]

Richard Hamilton , Barnaby Rogerson
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.99
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Review

'The Last Storytellers succeeds brilliantly in delving down through the endless overlapping layers of Marrakech life, to reveal the extraordinary underbelly, an ancient cultural bedrock built on stories and storytelling. Through a shrewd perception of a society that can seem nothing less than baffling to the Occidental mind, Richard Hamilton has triumphed where many before him have failed.' --Tahir Shah, author of The Caliph's House and In Arabian Nights

'This is a wonderfully vivid and striking collection of stories which I heartily recommend.' --Fergal Keane

'Richard Hamilton has recorded something which very few foreign correspondents do and in doing so he has captured a rich, vibrant yet disappearing world. The immediate and sudden stories of political upheaval, conflict and natural disaster are what takes a foreign correspondent to postings around the world. But instead, Richard Hamilton, a modern reporter of the 24 hour news age, has chosen to focus on something very different. He has listened, learned and been captivated by the storytellers of Morroco, re-telling some of that country's charming and spellbinding traditional stories. The tales are amusing, whimsical and and leave you spellbound that you are reading stories which may soon disappear. Hamilton has paid a fine and lasting tribute to Morocco's storytellers by writing down their stories for posterity....and our enjoyment.' --Rageh Omaar

… charming, fantastical and lively… produces a startling amount of pleasure from some very small packages. Eamonn Gearon, TLS --Eamonn Gearon, TLS

'Richard Hamilton has recorded something which very few foreign correspondents do and in doing so he has captured a rich, vibrant yet disappearing world. The immediate and sudden stories of political upheaval, conflict and natural disaster are what takes a foreign correspondent to postings around the world. But instead, Richard Hamilton, a modern reporter of the 24 hour news age, has chosen to focus on something very different. He has listened, learned and been captivated by the storytellers of Morroco, re-telling some of that country's charming and spellbinding traditional stories. The tales are amusing, whimsical and and leave you spellbound that you are reading stories which may soon disappear. Hamilton has paid a fine and lasting tribute to Morocco's storytellers by writing down their stories for posterity....and our enjoyment.' --Rageh Omaar

Product Description

Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco’s ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in the 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 at 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._x000D_
_x000D_
Moroccan tales have a huge educational, religious and moral impact on their audience, offering timeless values and guidance to all who listen. With their passing we risk losing something of Morocco’s national psyche and also part of the world’s intangible heritage. Those who have seen the storytellers of Marrakech at first hand have witnessed something that is no longer part of this world, a treasure as precious as the planet’s most endangered species and of immeasurable importance to humanity._x000D_

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 682 KB
  • Print Length: 235 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; 1 edition (26 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007TV3Z1O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #177,008 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endangered Stories 13 July 2011
By Ita
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
`The Last Storytellers' is a book that puts into print stories from the Moroccan tradition of oral storytelling which goes back almost a thousand years and is now in danger of becoming extinct. Assisted by his guide, Ahmed Tija, Richard Hamilton, the BBC's Moroccan correspondent, sought out in Marrakech five authentic storytellers. Typically they are men who followed what they saw as their fate despite the disapproval of orthodox Islam and opposition from their families, who regarded storytelling as little better than begging.

The last storytellers may be aged, poor and frail, but their stories are rich in detail and full of vitality. In his excellent introduction Richard Hamilton tells of some of their accomplishments. One learned most of the Old Testament and all of `One Thousand and One Nights'. Another studies classical Arabic texts at night and recites them next day in Darija, the dialect his listeners can understand. The youngest, who was born into an extremely poor family and had to leave school so that he could help his father at work, is exceptionally well read and can introduce material from Cervantes or Jorge Luis Borges into his tales. The oldest, going deaf and already blind, remembers when, during the time of the French Protectorate, storytellers, speaking in the Berber language, used stories to pass messages to one another in code.

Since the men who tell them are no strangers to poverty and oppression, it is not surprising that these thirty-seven stories show sympathy with the underdog and a subversive glee when he succeeds where others have failed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling read 30 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
Enthralling.
Richard Hamilton has captured the essence and atmosphere of Marrakech's ancient oral storytelling tradition perfectly. In doing this he has preserved one of Morocco's greatest pieces of heritage that has already all but disappeared due to the numbing qualities of today's mass media. Since the arrival of the television to most homes, chairs in social areas are no longer arranged to encourage conversation and the art of the storyteller's profession is becoming forgotten. These fairytale stories, like many old European or Arabian fables, nearly always contain a subtle moral message so that the listener is not only entertained, but educated. What I have learned from reading Hamilton's book is the importance of appreciating that something as simple as a story is integral to our understanding of the world we live in. As Hamilton postulates, our lives are nothing more than a series of stories, therefore it is imperative that we appreciate that these stories, which have survived for more than a thousand years, are certainly not something to dismiss. Beautifully written, Hamilton's book encourages you to read these stories aloud to friends and family, or even strangers, and see just a fraction of the joy they and their storyteller's have brought to the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect book to read in Marrakech 5 Jun 2012
By ARK
Format:Hardcover
I took this book with me when I went to Marrakech recently. It was the perfect read. Being there is magical and there is so much as a tourist you cannot understand, but the place makes much more sense when you read this book. It is easy to read, to dip in and out of - while having a mint tea in a cafe, as you sit in your riad or as you sit around the J'maa el Fna as the sun sets. A nice read in London, but a perfect read in situ. If you are going to Marrakech, buy this book to take with you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 17 April 2012
By sara b
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Well-written and entertaining, the book contains several individual evocative and spell-binding tales. A thoroughly good read, especially whilst you're in Morocco.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Book 1 Feb 2012
By Mrs W
Format:Hardcover
This really is a gem of a book. The introduction has been thoroughly researched and serves as a perfect overture to what is to come. It tells the reader about the wider history of storytelling and then it goes on to discuss the background to the storytellers, whose tales have been recorded and immortalised by Richard Hamilton. Hamilton thus sets the scene beautifully, guiding the reader gently into the world of Fakirs and Imams, Shoemakers and Devils. Reading this book reminded me of the many hours I spent as a child reading, and re-reading my Arabian Nights collection. Every time one opens the book, a new adventure is waiting to be absorbed. But these stories are not really for children - there are stories of cunning and comeuppance, but there are also tales of passion and adultery, gouging and torture. Hamilton's clear and measured style belies the gargantuan task behind the work. Many, many hours of research, recording and meticulous translation work have clearly gone into this book. It is not only a great read, but a real treasure. Through the preservation of these stories and the world from which they come, Hamilton has provided a great service to Moroccan and indeed to global culture. Most importantly he has written a highly enjoyable, entertaining and unusual book. I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful tales from Morocco 25 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
Wonderfully evocative read - had me pining for the scents and sounds of Jemaa el F'naa! Hamilton's excellent introduction contextualises a beautiful series of short stories, gleaned from interviews with Marrakech's dwindling fraternity of storytellers. Highly recommended for anyone with a love of Morocco and North Africa.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Very enjoyable to look back and read this several years after I wrote it. It feels that it was worth all the hard work
Published 4 months ago by Richard Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
A truly wonderful book which is a treasure chest of traditional Moroccan tales, retold in a way that is much truer to their origins than a literary adaptation.
Published 11 months ago by Sue Allonby
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and different
An easy to read book which will not win any awards but is enjoyable none the less. For anyone who has spent time in that part of the world, it is a must read
Published 15 months ago by adventuresal
5.0 out of 5 stars varied and very interesting stories
loved the book. the stories were so diverse and they give you a sense of Moroccan culture and oral storytelling. Read more
Published on 1 Nov 2011 by nom_de_plume
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful book!
What a wonderful book, and thank you for it! Having seen, but not been able to understand the storytellers in Morocco, this gave me a feel for some of the traditional tales. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by Catriona
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Treasure Trove
I know nothing about modern-day Morocco or North Africa, but this gem of a book, while retaining an entirely authentic local feel, has a universal appeal and a timeless charm. Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2011 by Tim Luard
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Storytellers
This enthralling book transports you to the Djemaa El-Fna square in Marrakesh, at the heart of Morocco's fast disappearing storytelling tradition. Read more
Published on 21 Aug 2011 by ailsa auchnie
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Richard Hamilton has created a book to be cherished. Many of the stories are similar to fables and my children aged 7 and 10 really enjoyed them. Read more
Published on 7 Aug 2011 by Bob Howard
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