Reviews of The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from hidden Morocco

‘Samantha Herron found some of her Moroccan stories ready-made. Others she imagined or dreamed. In size they are miniatures; but they all express big things on a small scale. Reading them is like peering through a series of keyholes – and, each time, glimpsing something momentary but momentous, instants with life-long consequences. They will make you smile, and shiver. And they will tell you as much truth about their Moroccan setting as a shelf-full of ethnologies.’

Tim Mackintosh-Smith Arabist and author of Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah

‘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 kingdom that is so often invisible to visitors. This magical realm has traditionally been received orally, and not through written text. It exists, not in the grand touristic sites, but in the ancient fabric of places like the Draa Valley, from where her stories come. A wonderful collection, highly recommended.’

Tahir Shah author of The Caliph’s House and In Arabian Nights

‘These spare and haunting stories, so similar in tone to those of Isabelle Eberhardt over a century ago, lead us to surprising places, where djinns cohabit gently with mobile phones, and death cohabits subtly with life.’

Annette Kobak author of Isabelle: The Life of Isabelle Eberhardt

‘These stories have an authentic feel of Morocco and are clearly written by someone with a deep affection for the country and who has become embedded in its culture. They have all the props and scenery that a traveller to the Maghreb will recognise: the hospitality over sweet tea and pastries, the donkeys, palm trees, sandy paths, taxis and bus stations, beggars and brides. But above all they are true to the spirit of Morocco. These simple yet slightly haunting stories are seen through the eyes of ordinary people; peasants, farmers and families whose lives are touched by the desert, djinns, death and despair. But they also show the warmth and humanity of a God fearing world that still exists beyond the cliches of the travel brochures. At the end of each of these tales, like all great short stories, you are left thinking about them for a long time after you have put the book down.’

Richard Hamilton author of The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco

© Samantha Herron 2015