Culture Magazine

Book Review – The Storyteller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

By Manofyesterday


Each year Hassan gathers people to the city square and retells a story of a time when two mysterious strangers came to the city. As he speaks he deviates into memories of his childhood, and his audience interrupt to give their own version of events as well. Love and mystery mingle with beauty and truth as people give different accounts of what transpired.

First of all, the prose is beautiful and often verges towards poetry. The way Roy-Bhattacharya describes things is incredibly sensual and I loved how he painted a picture of the surroundings with his words. The main theme of the novel is to explore the nature of storytelling, and he approaches it from a philosophical perspective with a very relativistic approach to truth, love, and beauty. We’re warned throughout the novel that the story won’t have a clean resolution, so the reader has a chance to prepare for the lingering mystery. The story veers off into tangents, and Hassan is continually interrupted by his listeners, some of whom have important things to say, others not so much. There isn’t really a central plot as such and I can imagine the thoughtful, contemplative nature will dissuade a lot of people from reading it.

The mystery about the strangers is peeled away gradually and I enjoyed the way this was presented. Personally, I enjoyed the tangents as well. The book has an almost timeless quality to it and shows the universal nature of the themes in stories, as often the atmosphere is presented as almost mythical in quality, but then we’re given quick reminders that it does in fact take place in contemporary times. The structure of the book took some getting used to as speech marks are never used, and so sometimes it’s unclear who is speaking. This leads two one of the book’s main failings as well – each character sounds the same. Some of the characters are described as common folk, and yet they speak as though they are poets. They have different attitudes and beliefs, but their style of speech is the same, and this I found took me out of the story. In addition to this there was an annoying trait, where he would use a foreign word to describe something, then have a character repeat the meaning of that phrase in English. If they were actually speaking they wouldn’t bother to translate it to the person they were speaking to.

As a meditation on storytelling it’s fairly good, although I disagree with the main tenet presented, in that the way the story is told is more important than the story itself. I feel that with a stronger resolution this book would have been a classic as it is beautifully written. As it is it amounts to almost 300 pages of meandering philosophy that doesn’t seem to have a point other than concepts of truth etc boil down to one’s own perception. It’s not revelatory, although the flowery prose does disguise this somewhat.

While I was reading it I enjoyed it, but after I finished it I realized that it’s a story that wants the reader to ponder the meaning of it all. Sadly, the plot and the characters aren’t compelling enough to make me want to do that legwork.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey Review

    Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey Review

    When I first heard about Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey I dismissed it as a nothing more than a branding stunt put together by a couple of extreme sport... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Josh Peters
  • 7 Best Xbox One Emulator for Windows PC [Xbox Games on PC] 2018

    Have you ever wondered how you could play video games from gaming consoles to your PC? Atari, an arcade gaming company released the first video gaming console,... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Meet Rv
  • Cottage - I Belong in a Crofter's Cottage

    Cottage Belong Crofter's

    Isle of Barra There’s something very appealing about escaping to a crofter’s cottage in the north of Scotland. It is good for me to break away from the rat... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Ashleylister
  • Help Me Celebrate!

    Help Celebrate!

    by NinaTomorrow is the 7th anniversary of the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog. Whoa, it's actually hard for me to believe it. When I started the blog seven years ag... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Ninazolotow
  • Spoiler Alert | The CW Releases More ‘Arrow’ Premiere Images

    Spoiler Alert Releases More ‘Arrow’ Premiere Images

    “Green is the new black.” – Stephen Amell More photos from Arrow’s season 7 premiere episode, titled Inmate #4587, have been released, and these are all about... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Entertainmentjolt
  • Disrupt Facebook!

    Disrupt Facebook!

    A business model is a plan for the successful operation of a business, identifying sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products, and details of... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Thinkibility
  • Carolina Strong & Have You Marked Yourself Safe?

    Carolina Strong Have Marked Yourself Safe?

    Still getting through Hurricane Florence here in the Carolinas. While I live in central NC, we have had our share of flooding, trees down, power outages and yes... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Midlifemargaritas