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The Storyteller of Marrakesh

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  598 Ratings  ·  132 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 what happened to the ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 31st 2011 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Tea Jovanović
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Super knjiga... Ima i nastavke... Prodala sam je pre nekoliko godina Deretu, trebalo bi da su je već objavili... :)
Мариша
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
След силно противоречивите мнения за тази книга останах приятно изненадана - на мен тя много ми хареса. Светоусещането, описано в книгата, ми е много далечно - аз не се заглеждам в "ритъма" на града , докато работя, нито си мърдам пръстите на краката, завихряйки творческото у себе си. И абстрактното понятие за истината ми е много чуждо, и протяжността на живота в пустинята, онзи трепет на жегата и дюните. Но го припознавам като светоусещане на много хора, и ми хареса цялата тази приказност и ори ...more
Nabeel Hassan
رواية تدور أحداثها عن أختفاء شاب و شابة في سوق مراكش المشهور.
يعمل الكاتب على صياغة المجتمع المغربي في هذه الفكرة على لسان الراوي الذي يتخذ ساحة الجامع مقره لرواية رواياته الأسطورية و بها يبدأ الراوي بشرح طبيعة المجتمع في هذه البقية عن طريق مداخلات من الجمهور للراوي حيث تتخذ الرواية طابع ساسة جريمة في أختطاف الحسناء الجميلة التي يقال انها فرنسية أميركية في نهاية الرواية.

الرواية جميلة إلى حداً ما و لكن تداخل مهمة الكاتب في شرح طبائع البشر في هذا المكان مع الرواية جعلها بعض الشيء مملة لحد ان أكثر م
...more
Dholsten
Dec 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Did not find this magical. Frustrating read. Felt that the narrative was trying too hard to be enchanting. I felt anger at the repeated beauty of the woman--of course she was the typical standard of beauty. Why couldn't she be Asian? Or, for that matter, any other ethnic grouping? What I did enjoy was the various types of people that were woven in the tale--the blue skinned man, the Berber, the fortune teller, etc. But, as stated, not one of my favorite reads. Although this is not a normal pract ...more
Mallory
Aug 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
Carol
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Booknblues
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, morocco
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
Sovotchka
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
Mylissa
May 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012-books
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
Donna
Oct 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Manu
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
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
Athenameilahn
Jun 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-group-ic
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.
Jeruen
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Arindam Mallick
Nov 20, 2014 rated it liked it
“Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be.” – Epictetus

Joydeep Ray-Bhttacharya’s ‘The Storyteller of Marrakesh’ begins with the proposition that there is no truth, only opinions and their diversity. Hassan, the story-teller and the first person in his narrative, states as much when he ploclaims – “Truth is that which inevitably contradicts
...more
Jim
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Murdo Morrison
Nov 19, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jill Robertson
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
'The Storyteller of Marrakesh' by Jpydeep Roy-Bhattacharya promised a lot but left me a little disappointed. It as an intriguing tale with its underlying theme of What is truth? Hassan is a storyteller who, each year, comes from his mountain home to tell the tale of a Western couple who visited the great square of Jemaa el Fna in Marrakesh years ago and disappeared; his brother had confessed to the murder of the woman though no trace of her or her companion had ever been found. In an attempt to ...more
Daren
Hmmm. Two stars "it was ok".
Never reached the levels promised by the quote on the cover "An enigmatic fable in the tradition of The Thousand and One Nights", the New York Times. Never even got close. The Thousand and One Nights (which, yes, I am still only 3/4 of the way through) is brilliant, contains multiple stories and stories within stories. This has a few side stories, but largely just rehashes the telling of a foreign couples single night in the Jemaa (market square) of Marrakesh. These a
...more
Karen
Jun 12, 2011 rated it liked it
"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
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Sonja
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, own, 2011, arc
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.
Baljit
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Alex
Aug 07, 2012 rated it did not like it


Not only one of the most poorly written books I've ever read, also one of the least interesting. The story structure and especially the prose was so insistently repetitive and tangential that I tossed it aside midway through without a second thought. What a waste of time I could have spent reading something truly great.
Heidi
Jan 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
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
Apr 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
Alexa
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I wasn't sure about this book from the beginning, but by the end it had me interested. Even though the theme was storytelling, the narrator's style failed to truly induce me into his fantasy. I did, however, enjoy the circular journey the plot moved, slowly getting closer to its conclusion at the tip of the cornucopia. Even now, having finished the final chapter, the solution to the mystery surrounding the two foreigners remains ambiguous. I am confused and ultimately unsure about the role our s ...more
Coraline
Aug 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
could not finish the book, am probably going to use the pages to make a collage because it is not worth passing on
pretentious style, too slow, degrading to women and very patronizing
emphasize too much aspects of the culture that probably.. well shouldnt have been swept away but not patronized (!!!)
terrbile pages overall
Rachel
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Maybe it's better in another language...
Jennah
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. Made me feel like I was in the heart of Jemaa El Fna.
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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.
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