A classic of travel writing, In Morocco is Edith Wharton's remarkable account of her journey to that country during World War I. With her characteristic sense of adventure, Wharton set out to explore Morocco and its people, traveling by military jeep to Rabat, Moulay Idriss, Fez, and Marrakech, from the Atlantic coast to the high Atlas. Along the way, she witnessed religious ceremonies and ritual dances, visited the opulent palaces of the Sultan, and was admitted to the mysterious world of his harem.
The first three-fourths of the book are a first-person account of Wharton's travel from Tangier to Rabat, Fes, and Marrakech just after the end of the First World War as a guest of the French governor general, Lyautey. The last fourth deals with Moroccan history and art. There are many details that help carry the listener past a predictable array of Orientalist stereotypes.
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What did you love best about In Morocco?
Edith Wharton's use of language is beautiful, her descriptions colorful and her experience delightfully presented. Although the visit takes place in a bygone era, the descriptions of people and ceremonies gives a feel for the recent history of this country and for the background of the people still living there.
What was one of the most memorable moments of In Morocco?
Edith Wharton's empathy for those forced into slavery or raised to labor is moving, especially given the time period in which she writes. The descriptive scenes of homage and ceremony are a delightful repast, vivid and yet concise.
What does Anna Fields bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
This is a first person narrative, and as such, it is important that the voice have a real authenticity to it. I found that to be true. I also appreciate that care was taken not to be overly dramatic, thus keeping the narrative moving and contemplative.
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How interesting to hear what Morocco was like while the French were there before, during and after WWI. Cultural sensitivity very advanced.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
What was most disappointing about Edith Wharton’s story?
Her superficial treatment of the place and her constant reminding me of how badly the pathetic people there needed the French "help" they were now getting.
Would you be willing to try another one of Anna Fields’s performances?
Maybe, but I would listen carefully first. This recording is faulty. Her pronunciations are incorrect very often.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from In Morocco?
I would suggest that she abandon the project.
Any additional comments?
Terrible recording of a dated and depressing book.
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I am going to Morocco in less than a month and I was excited to find this book from such a well known writer. Unfortunately it was pretty dry, all the facts ran together and it did nothing to capture my imagination.
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While the writer was a pioneer of her time I found the book maddening to listen to,since I am usually walking when I listen.There were words like omnibus,which as it turns out is simply a bus that I had to stop for to look up in the dictionary.I typically listen in a concentrated manner for about an hour at a time each day.My attention drifted constantly to other things.Perhaps I don't like reading about ancient travel?I have enjoyed many other books like 1421 and the story of Captain Holman,the blind traveler.The words used here were simply too arcane and put me off.Maybe I will finish it this summer while laying in bed,so I can pause and drink in the rich vocabulary employed in the book.
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