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In Morocco Paperback – Oct 1 2009
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From Library Journal
During her travels in Morocco in 1917, Wharton kept a rather complete, descriptive account of her experiences. As expected of such a superbly talented author, her observations are well written and interesting. While this gives listeners a real feel for desert living and tribes, it does not include a map, which would have been helpful in following and better understanding her journey. Wharton provides some historical perspective and unusual insight into the travel of that period and into the lives of women. Her account of visits to harems provide the most educational and fascinating listening. Anna Fields reads beautifully, gliding through a great many difficult names, making only one detectable pronunciation error. Unfortunately, old travel books normally attract a rather limited audience. True armchair travelers or those with a special interest in Morocco may be interested. Libraries seeking older verbal travelogs should consider.
-Carolyn Alexander, Brigadoon Lib., Salinas, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Independent on Sunday: "There was no guide book to the country before this one." "descriptions brim with life and colour." The Times: "Wharton on the road is an inexhaustible joy." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I remember her descriptions of Morocco and the people being quite fascinating but I don't remember them being racist......maybe, this world of Moroc was so far from the culture she was accustomed. Maybe this book encouraged people to visit and find out for themselves. I loved Morocco and it's people, but I also enjoyed the book back then.
Moroc was the most exciting place I had been as of 2000.
Maybe, we've come a long way, Baby! Let's only hope!
"The air of the unforseen blows on one from the roadless passes of the Atlas."
"Even the fierce midday sun does not wholly dispel [the haze]-the air remains thick, opalescent, like water slightly clouded by milk."
"Not till two or three years ago was [Rabat] completely pacified; and when it opened its gates to the infidel it was still, as it is today, the type of the untouched Moroccan city-so untouched that, with the sunlight irradiating its cream-coloured walls and blue-white domes above them, it rests on its carpet of rich fruit-gardens like some rare specimen of Arab art on a strip of old Oriental velevt."
"Range after range these translucent hills rose before us, all around the solitude was complete."
"We visited old palaces and new, inhabited and abandoned, and over all lay the same fine dust of oblivion, like the silvery mould on an overripe fruit."
Keep a pencil with you and mark your own passages.
The criticisms made earlier really miss the value of such a "colorful and textured travel memoir." I know a lot more about the author, now. I found more interesting Wharton's sense of outrage at the religious and social oppression of Moroccan women than her "Orientalism." Any decent biography about the "Great Emancipator," Abraham Lincoln, reveals statements and positions on race which are abhorrent today. Human beings are rather complex, aren't we? Wharton herslf didn't even have the right to vote in the U. S. until several years after her visits to the harems she descries near the end of this short travelogue.
There is much to learn from eye-witness accounts even with some danger that they might offend our current sensibilities. Western attitudes may (I stress that word) have changed quite a bit since 1918 but I notice that virtually all the mosques in Morocco are still closed to non-moslems.
The beauty of the work speaks for itself and all the rest is best left to its own merit. Read this book if you have any interest in going to Morocco, or in getting a glimpse into the mindset and skill of a great author, or a feel for time and place.
Time and petrol shortages limited her to Rabat-Sale, Meknes, Fez, and Marrakech, with a few brief side trips. Marketing of the book emphasized that she had been inside several harems. It’s true, but her observations from those experiences are mostly limited to how confined and bored the women are; the language barrier made it impossible for her to converse with the women. Despite all that, the book is still a worthwhile read, especially if you’re thinking of visiting Morocco. For me the most interesting part is her clear distinction between the Arab culture and the Berber culture, highlighted by her afternoon in Sefrou. Today's guide books have little to say about that cultural distinction. It may be that the lines have blurred, or maybe it's just that today’s tourist routes are cultural blends of people who cater to tourists.
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