cover image Marrakech Noir

Marrakech Noir

Edited by Yassin Adnan. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61775-473-9

As Adnan points out in his introduction to this relatively upbeat Akashic noir anthology, Moroccans regard Marrakech as “The Joyful City.” Its “days are bright and its nights are well-lit.” As a result, most of the volume’s 15 tales tend to be fanciful, as shown by Fatiha Morchid’s clever “The Secret in Fingertips,” in which a young woman, whose magical touch at massage earns her the nickname Scheherazade, uses her fingertips to great effect. At the darker end of the scale is Halima Zine El Abidine’s moving “Mama Aicha,” about a mother’s efforts on the part of her rebellious son, a victim of police oppression. “What is the good humor for which the people of Marrakech are known if not a proud mask concealing the bitterness of their days and the misery of their lives?” the title character asks. Also notable is Hanane Derkaoui’s “A Way to Mecca,” in which the decision of two destitute thieves, Ali and Ibrahim, to con or rob Hmad, who claims to be a waiter, leads to tragedy. Armchair travelers will relish this collective look at Marrakech through the eyes of those who know its people and culture well. [em](Aug.) [/em]