The Storyteller of Marrakesh
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Storyteller of Marrakesh

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  364 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Each year, the storyteller, Hassan, gathers listeners to the city square to share their recollections of a young, foreign couple who mysteriously disappeared years earlier. As various witnesses describe their encounters with the couple—their tales overlapping, confirming, and contradicting each other—Hassan hopes to light upon details that will explain...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 31st 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Dreams of Trespass by Fatema MernissiThe Sheltering Sky by Paul BowlesA House in Fez by Suzanna ClarkeThe Caliph's House by Tahir ShahA Street in Marrakech by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
Books set in, or about, Morocco
6th out of 18 books — 8 voters
The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittBefore I Go To Sleep by S.J. WatsonWhen God Was a Rabbit by Sarah WinmanThe Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Man Booker Prize Eligible 2011
86th out of 154 books — 254 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,044)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tea Jovanović
Super knjiga... Ima i nastavke... Prodala sam je pre nekoliko godina Deretu, trebalo bi da su je već objavili... :)
Carol
This was an enchanting book in every sense of the word. I was charmed by the weaving of the storyline in and out. I felt as if I was in Marrakesh weaving in and out of the alleyways and souks.

Every year the storyteller comes to Marrakesh to relate a story of a foreign couple who disappeared years before. He comes in search of solving the mystery by relating and engaging the audience in remember their view of that night. Every year it is with a different effect.

This book has an Arabian Night fe...more
Hillary Major
The mystery element and the voices of and collaboration among the storyteller, Hassan, and his listeners make this novel compelling. Will those who find themselves in the Jemaa el Fna be able to solve the puzzle of the disappeared strangers? Will our narrator turn out to be a puppeteer manipulating the evening's events? Or will the novel bear out Hassan's father's advice that "a story must not have a clean resolution"? Suspense and contemplation, philosophy, fiction, and myth mingle as the tale...more
Manu Prasad
The book begins with the proposition that there is no truth, and only opinion. This is a fundamental premise of the book and important from the perspective of its narration. Hassan, the primary narrator begins his story at the Jemaa el Fna, surrounded by his listeners, the motive behind the narration supposedly to prove the innocence of his brother Mustafa, who is in jail for a crime he seemingly did not commit. It involves the disappearance of an exceedingly beautiful woman who tantalised all t...more
Booknblues
The Storyteller of Marrakesh
By Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
4 stars
pp. 341

During a journey to the medina (old city) of Marrakesh in the Jemaa el Fna (the square) one might find a market, snake charmers, beggars, restaurants, jugglers and storytellers and this is where Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya takes the reader to introduce Hassan, the storyteller.

The reader is given a taste of evenings storytelling. Hassan recounts the tale of to foreigners who visited the Jemaa and vanished. This is a mystery for the...more
Murdo Morrison
The book has an interesting premise - the central character, Hassan, is a story teller of Berber descent who has come to the main square in the city of Marrakesh in Morocco to practice his art. The story he has chosen to tell relates to the apparent disappearance of a married couple who were visiting the city as tourists several years before. Throughout the long night of story telling the audience joins in, sharing their individual accounts of the events of that disappearance.

The book explores...more
Jeruen
An earlier version of this article was first published as Book Review: The Storyteller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya on Blogcritics.org.

This is one sensual piece of work. I initially grabbed this book from the New Releases section of the library, because I was intrigued by the Arabic calligraphy that is featured on the cover, but I ended up just spending 3 days reading this spectacular and magnificent work.

This is a novel that has many facets. First, one can say that this is a novel a...more
Mylissa
I didn't hate this book. Nor did I like it. At first, I was a little worried I didn't understand it, but I don't think that is the case either. The book wants to emulate the living traditions of telling stories out loud with a group of people, investigating all the different aspects, all the different truths of a matter, because everyone has a slightly different perspective. But it's executed pretty poorly.

It suffers from what I thought Les Miserables suffered from when I read that. There are m...more
SilverRaindrops
There are two things that make me really anxious about a book - a rainbow of different ratings, and a book about somewhere from someone who has no real connection to the place. I gave in though, basically because of the title, and hoped for the best. And my "bravery" was rewarded.

A few years ago, there was an interview on Swiss television with Syrian-German author Rafik Schami. The original topic was of course Syria's political situation, but the interviewer also delved into the differences betw...more
Jim
Each year, the storyteller, Hassan, gathers listeners to the city square to share their recollections of a young, foreign couple who mysteriously disappeared years earlier. As various witnesses describe their encounters with the couple--their tales overlapping, confirming, and contradicting each other--Hassan hopes to light upon details that will explain what happened to them, and to absolve his own brother, who is in prison for their disappearance. As testimonies circle an elusive truth, the co...more
Baljit
This novel is constructed as a non-linear narrative, imitating the style of oral storytellers. it often digresses form the main point, and has a story within a story, within a story. Its easiest to just go with the flow when reading, then to flick back and forth, looking for clarifications and explanations. it does capture the mood and essence of Marrakesh
Karen
"Smoky" is the word that best describes this book. Although set in the present time, the immediate setting is by a campfire in a Moroccan town square on a winter night where a Berber storyteller tries to discover the truth & meaning in a relatively recent mystery that involves his brother. The author has a way with words, and takes a decidedly philosophical approach to truth and reality. Although the ending is less than satisfying for a book, there are some parallels that we would do well to...more
Francesca
For 2/3 of the book, I really enjoyed the multiple story-tellers/eye witnesses and their embellished renditions of the what happened to the "foreigner" couple who mysteriously disappeared from the city square years earlier. But then the narrative turned into a treatise on love and beauty and then an essay on religious intolerance, which I thought diluted the impact of the main story line. It's well written, bordering on poetic at times, but the philosophical meanderings lost me in the final chap...more
Athenameilahn
This book gives the impression that the author had a deep passion for Morocco and wanted to write about it but didn't have the expertise to craft a non-fiction travelogue so he decided to turn his random bits of info into a poorly executed novel. If the author had spent more time developing the characters so I cared about them, it would be possible to overlook the open ending. Alternatively, if he had created an actual plot line I could have overlooked the shallow characters.
Sonja
Won ARC from Firstreads.

I'm not sure if this was a love story, a mystery, or a book about Marakesh, and I'm not sure I care. The descriptions of places, times of day, and people really made the story come alive to me. I felt like I was part of the circle listening to the stories everyone was telling and trying to piece the events of one night together. I will definitely read more by this author and am excited that this is the start of a cycle of books.
Kaloyana
Начинът на писане на тази книга ми напомни много за приказките на Шехерезада - думите те пренасят в онзи свят, където миризмите на подправки, шумът на пазара, трепетът на океана, пясъците на пустинята, къщите на скромните семейства, звънът на занаятите и всичко останало е живо. Там хората са добри, истински човеци, имат воля, добро възпитание, морал състрадание и човещина, далечни от Западния свят. Хареса ми как разказвачът от Маракеш събира тези хора на Джама - където е събран целият им свят и...more
ElphabaNewlin
Whilst wandering the stacks at my local library, I came upon this book. In my experience, books you never ever intended to read can be the most fulfilling reads. Be it random books found by accident, books that friends insist you read, or books on a school reading list, sometimes those you never thought of end up being vastly rewarding. THE STORYTELLER OF MARRAKESH doesn't fall into the same category as, say, INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN or FEED, but I would still add it to my list of unexpected tr...more
Mallory
So I never actually finished this book. I only made it about 100 pages in, but it was that bad. 100 horrible, slow, painful pages and I do not regret NOT finishing this book. I can't wait to sell it back. (Sorry to my fellow book club readers.) This is the literary equivalent of gouging your eyes out with a half-teaspoon.
Heidi
I would give this 2 1/2 stars. Enjoyed reading about the city and the country as I have visited there but the stories themselves told by the storyteller failed to keep my attention. I really wanted to love this book but I didn't.
Marjanne
So I read about 30 pages of this book and just couldn't get into it. It was due back at the library and I decided that it was not interesting enough for me to renew it and try to get through. Blah.
Donna
The following extract appears on page 307 of this novel, a mere 20 pages from the end:

"I listened to you with a growing desbelief that soon turned to anger. Your story was not onlu salubrious, it was a thoroughly misbegotten endeavor. There was nothing in it to emulate, no universal values or aspirations, nothing - nothing at all - worth salvaging. If there was any truth in it, it lay in its level of degredation, truly one of a kind."

My sentiments exactly after reading this book!! For someone li...more
Ben
Last week the latest addition to our household arrived, our first Kindle. This was something I'd resisted for some time, despite my geek credentials. I love books, proper books, hold in the hands and smell and savour books with covers and pages, no swiping required. Ereaders were, to my point of view, second class and to be shunned! But then Amazon offered us a coupon with mooney off, and in a moment of weakness I succumbed. Having tried it, I'm a convert! Not a complete convert, you understand,...more
Matthew Preston
In the Jemma in Marrakech, Hassan weaves a deeply personal tale about the disappearance of two young lovers; a disappearance for which his headstrong brother is in prison. The tale weaves the textures of the inky night with rhythmic drumming and the hot sand off the Sahara. Loss, both that of the family in Mustafa's non-conformity and the heartbreak of lost love colour and inform the mysticism and dreams that foreshadow the inescapable fate of a doom long past. Is truth in facts or in the human...more
Joanna
I love the premise of this book - a demonstration of how one event can be so different in the memories of the various onlookers. The main character is a storyteller who engages his listeners by having them share their own memories of the same event, while he enriches the stories they tell by giving us some of their individual histories. What I would have enjoyed more was getting a better feel for the history of Marrakesh,the place that is the backdrop for the story. There is so much culture and...more
Chantal Hintze
‘Each of us carries deep within ourselves a chamber filled with secret memories, and it is a place we would rather not reveal.’ With these words, Hassan evokes within his captive audience memories of a night long passed and invites his listeners, who soon, one by one, take centre stage and become storytellers in their own right, to unearth the truth about two missing foreigners.

Set in the Jemma el Fnaa, this modern day fable is as enigmatic and captivating as Marrakesh’s square itself and Roy-B...more
Patti K
A 2011 novel that explores the disappearance of a foreign couple from Marrakesh's
fabled city square. Each year, Hassan, from a long line of storytellers, tells of
their enigmatic presence and their unsolved disappearance. Each listener has their
own version and the story is a story within a story within. Exploring the nature
of identity and reality is the purpose of this tale. It is also a love song to the
wild and vast desert. A lyrical quality pervades the telling.
Joy
It makes sense that Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya started out as a philosopher. This is a book that is less about characters and more about the idea of truth and beauty. Written with the 1001Nights in mind, it weaves stories within stories within stories, swirling around a central core that disappears like smoke when you try touch it. For all the moments of frustration that the plot "wasn't moving forward," I find myself haunted by this book after finishing it. In that sense, I think Mr. Roy-Bhattach...more
Mirna
This is a book with beautiful flow, easy to read, author using beautiful words and fluent sentences to make images literally flow in our mind. Speaking of the art of storytelling, the author at the same time demonstrates the same skill - building sentences using colorful words, bringing in some mystery, literally building pictures with words... building some suspension, not giving it all away at once, not rushing, but really building a story, one image at time, one step at the time. At the same...more
Kofykat
The style of writing is something that would appeal only to voracious readers. This is not for light readers who think that Chetan Bagat is an amazing Indian author. The first hundred pages seem like they are moving on, revealing more about the storyteller than the story that he is narrating. And at the end of a hundred pages, you would think that you have come across very little information, but realize that you have come across a lot of information. It makes you wonder whether the story is abo...more
Joe
Nice book for a summer read. Interesting story and the author has an excellent command of prose and paints a beautiful picture of the characters and places. Not a page turner, so it's a slower read than most books, but worth the time.

Each year, the storyteller, Hassan, gathers listeners to the city square to share their recollections of a young, foreign couple who mysteriously disappeared years earlier. As various witnesses describe their encounters with the couple—their tales overlapping, conf...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 34 35 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Someone Else's Garden
  • Dogs at the Perimeter
  • Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
  • The Oracle of Stamboul
  • A Palace in the Old Village
  • Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut
  • Raj
  • The Wish Maker
  • Nadia's Song
  • Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet
  • Sisters of the Sari
  • This Vacant Paradise
  • An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation
  • The View from Garden City: A Novel
  • The Lion of Cairo
  • The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca
  • The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home
  • Bright Lights, No City: An African Adventure on Bad Roads with a Brother and a Very Weird Business Plan
1050482
Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya was educated in politics and philosophy at Presidency College, Calcutta, and the University of Pennsylvania. His novels The Gabriel Club and The Storyteller of Marrakesh have been published in fourteen languages. He lives in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.
More about Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya...
The Watch The Gabriel Club

Share This Book