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Marrakesh in the '50s.

The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit - Elias Canetti, J.A. Underwood, J.A Underwood

I had been wanting to read this book ever since I visited Morocco and wandered through the streets and market of Marrakesh. It's quite a short book and very atmospheric, but I didn't think it was particularly well written, given that Elias Canetti was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.


Canetti visited Morocco in the 1950s but in many ways it is timeless. I particularly associated with the market stalls of very similar items: the row of handbag sellers, the section that sold carpets, another concentrating on herbs and spices. I bought a handbag from one of these sellers, having visited every stall before making my decision.


He commented on camels that had travelled through the desert for many days, just to be sold and slaughtered. A poor, starved donkey. I liked how he felt for these animals, a man with humanity. He was also touched by the beggars, one of whom sucked each coin before pocketing it, which was pretty disgusting.


He spent time in the Jewish quarter; being Jewish himself he identified with these people and felt at home. A young man attached himself to Canetti in the hope of securing a job from his American friend......so many snippets of experience, yet the book is also rather disjointed and doesn't really flow - not helped by my Pdf copy that had alternate blank pages.


I'm glad I finally managed to read this moment in time but unfortunately it's not going to encourage me to search out more from this author, in spite of his accolades.