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The Storyteller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya (Alma Books, £7.99)
8:30am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Books
HASSAN is a gifted storyteller and each year in winter goes to the intoxicating city square in Marrakesh known as the Jemaa el Fna.
Here he gathers audiences and tells them the same story of an event that happened years ago, that of the disappearance of a beautiful young couple in the Jemaa for which his brother Mustafa was imprisoned.
Hoping to prove his brother’s innocence, Hassan invites his listeners, many of which were there that night, to tell their version of events. The stories both conflict and overlap, memories alter the details and gradually the real-life event becomes almost a myth.
Hassan knows how to draw out the varying versions while hoping to discover a new truth that will save Mustafa from his life of imprisonment. This is an unusual and beautifully told story that, although going over the same incident, is never tedious.
The atmosphere the author brings about makes it totally believable that we are a partaker in the group of listeners sitting in the cooler evening air with the sounds and colours of Marrakesh vividly in front of us. It brings out the importance of the dying tradition of storytelling which stimulates the imagination.