Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 8 November 2009
Having lived in colonial India and Pakistan, Peter Mayne having what would be viewed as a "mid life crisis" these days decided to move to Morocco with the intention to make it his permanent home and to fund himself by writing a novel. Whilst it seems the novel never made it to publication, this book is written from his personal journals on life in Marrakesh - trying to live and be accepted by the locals, learn Arabic, make friends and understand life there.
Mayne was in Marrakesh in the late 1950's but the book almost seems as if it could have been written recently. I have not been to Morocco but had no trouble imaging myself there. As someone who has gone through the challenges (and delights) of living in a country other than my own and learning a foreign language I really appreciated the book from that perspective. He allows himself to try and understand the place and the people - warts and all - without being judgemental. His style in the book is summed up in his reflections on his friends as he prepares to leave Marrakesh: "All these lovable, good people who would be surprised to be called anything of the sort. They, who have never gone away - how should they know what parting means, that it means dying a little."
The text includes Arabic and French which adds to the flavour and that feeling of not understanding. I suspect if I remembered more French I could have enjoyed it even more. Mayne does a good job of allowing you to follow the theme even though you don't understand all the words rather than simply translating everything.
Very enjoyable. I thoroughly recommend it.