‘Samantha Herron has succeeded triumphantly in doing what many Occidental writers have failed in for centuries — showing Morocco from the inside out. The stories she has so eloquently told are part of the ‘real’ Morocco… A wonderful collection, highly recommended.’
Tahir Shar, author of The Caliph’s House and In Arabian Nights
A blind man searches for his wife; a djinn appears out of a human skull; a sick nomad returns to his home town; a brother and sister arrive in an unfamiliar town at the stroke of midnight…
Over a period of fifteen years Samantha Herron spent time living with a Berber family of former nomads in Morocco’s Draa Valley, on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Here she immersed herself in the language, culture and traditions of the country. She became captivated by the ancient art of storytelling, which she found was thriving informally amongst the community in which she was living.
Samantha comments: ‘I learned the local dialect, studied the Quran with women from the village, converted to Islam, travelled in the desert, learned how to take care of camels, sheep and goats, and helped the other women in the family with the day-to-day running of the home. I fell in love with Moroccan storytelling and stories, in particular female storytelling within a domestic setting. I began documenting the stories I was hearing. Gradually I found myself imagining and composing my own Moroccan stories, which became The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from hidden Morocco.‘
This debut collection of short stories, all set in contemporary Morocco, takes the reader on a journey into the hearts and minds of ordinary Moroccans and offers a glimpse into life in this magical and ancient land.
‘ Reading [these stories] … is like peering through a series of keyholes – and, each time, glimpsing something momentary but momentous, instants with life-long consequences.’
Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Arabist and author of Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
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© Samantha Herron 2015