On my flight to Kolkata as I was reading the last few lines of the book ‘The Storyteller of Marrakesh’, my friend who was also travelling with me asked me about the book and this is all what I said to him:
The book ‘The Storyteller of Marrakesh’ is written by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, an author of Indian origin, who now lives in NewYork. The story revolves around the disappearance of a foreign couple from Jemaa and the various theories and interpretations to that. The author has a very unique way of narrating the story. He brings about philosophy of life in his story and that makes it even more riveting to read. His use of Arabic words makes the story livelier and readers while reading could feel the story being narrated to them with the flavor of the place Jemaa. The descriptions of the places in Marrakesh could make readers visualize the whole picture in their mind. He has also beautifully included stories within a story. Also, his first novel ‘The Gabriel Club’ has been described to be impressive and passionate.
Hassan, the storyteller in the book, is an apt in his profession and sets the stage beautifully for the story to unfold. And instead of just narrating the story all by himself, he makes his listeners become a part of the story and everyone has an account to share regarding that fateful night when the mysterious incident of the disappearance of the foreign couple happened few years back. His listeners had different accounts of their meeting that foreign couple which were sometimes contrasting to others’ versions, leading to the mystery of the incident and a search for the truth of what happened that night. And every year on this particular night he tells this story to prove to the world the innocence of his brother, Mustafa, who surrendered to the police as the one responsible for the couple’s missing from the square of Jemaa.
Hassan through his story wants to unfold the mystery of that night but what can be debatable is how much he really wants to unearth it for the lines:
‘And, in any case, I added, I wouldn’t tell you if I were either one of those things. I wouldn’t betray them.’
clearly suggest that he perhaps is completely aware of the mystery but doesn’t want to disclose it. Also, Mustafa’s finding Hassan’s inkwell from the room from where the couple went missing further suggests the involvement of Hassan in the whole episode as Mustafa once said ‘If you are ever in trouble. I will give my life to save yours. ’ But that remains a mystery, the mystery that is perhaps known to only Hassan and Mustafa. And you are left with questions: Is Mustafa serving a life sentence in jail just to save his brother or to protect his love, Lucia, one of the two strangers who went missing? Is Hassan the one responsible for the missing of the couple? Or Is Hassan’s act of narrating the story every year a way to distort the facts and hide his own deeds?
The book is an awesome work of fiction that would at the end make you gasping for more. This would let you dream about the incident and shape your story about what really happened on that special night. A wonderful book that can be highly recommended to the readers, who want something new and something fresh.
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