Are you planning a trip to North Africa’s exotic gem? Be sure to check out one (or all!) of these books about Morocco.

*This post contains affiliate links. That just means that if you happen to click on one of those links and end up making a purchase, I make a small commission (and you will have made my day!)

Books about Morocco

Morocco is a dazzling, mythical, exotic country. Though so close to Europe and the rest of the Western world, Morocco still feels worlds away. For centuries, it has fascinated travelers with its clash of cultures, array of colors, and beautiful landscapes. It’s a place that is both enchanting and overwhelming.

It’s no wonder that Morocco has inspired the imaginations of countless authors. From true accounts of foreigners trying to navigate life in Morocco or travelers traversing this exotic country, to magical stories inspired by the superstitious beliefs from Moroccan traditions, a delightful read can be found for anyone looking to read a book set in Morocco. I asked some fellow travel bloggers for their favorite books about Morocco and the resulting list has something for everyone!

Fiction

The Alchemist

I forget who recommended this book to me, but I know that I started reading it on our flight to Marrakech. Now I don’t remember the flight because I was spellbound by the story.

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist isn’t a travel book per se, nor is it specifically about Morocco, and yet, if like me The Alchemist captures your imagination, you’ll be booking your camel ride into the desert before you reach the end of the book.

Santiago, our young hero, starts his journey from Tarifa in Andalusia and crosses the sea to Tangier. From Tangier, he joins a caravan and crosses the Sahara, planning to reach the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Along the way, he meets many fantastical characters who teach him about love, hard work, and finding life’s purpose.

The book whispers to travelers. It talks of dreams and legends and magic and love and the sands of time, and it weaves a tale so whimsical yet compelling that you find yourself willing it to be true.

This is one of the classic books about Morocco that every traveler should read before their trip there. You’ll find yourself searching for Bedouins and Berbers and stories of the desert.

Recommended by: Colleen from Then We Walked

books about morocco

The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles follows an American couple, Port and Kit Moresby, through the desolate landscapes of Morocco in the years following WWII.

As they venture deep into the unfamiliar terrain, they encounter a series of unsettling experiences and encounters that challenge their understanding of themselves and their relationship. Their journey becomes increasingly surreal and disorienting, marked by encounters with locals fellow travelers, and their own inner demons.

The novel mentions many locations in and around Morocco, like Tangier, Guelmim, and the Sahara Desert, making it one of the great fictional books about Morocco. It also offers valuable insights into the complexities of cultural encounters and the transformative power of travel, serving as both a cautionary tale and an invitation to explore the depths of one’s own psyche amidst unfamiliar surroundings. Travelers to Morocco would benefit from reading this novel to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s rich traditions, landscapes, and the profound impact it can have on those who venture there.

Recommended by Mackenzie from A Wandering Scribbler

books about morocco

The Country of Others

The Country of Others by Leila Slimani is a book you should read to really understand the Moroccan people. Leila was born and raised in Morocco and moved to Paris when she was 18. Her intimate understanding of the differences between Moroccan and French cultures shines through in this great novel.

The story is about Mathilde, a young French woman hungry for love and life. Everything changes for her when she falls for Amin, a Moroccan who fought for the French army, and she decides to chase her dreams and her love by moving to Morocco.

But life in Morocco isn’t like her dreams. There are no grand parties or fancy dresses. She becomes a mother of two, married to a man of a different religion, who wants to be a big-time farmer using the latest techniques, but on land that’s  hard to farm. Mathilde faces fear, hatred, distrust, and poverty while raising her kids – smart Aicha who, like her mom, doesn’t fit into their surroundings, and her little brother Selim. Can Mathilde make it against all of these challenges, against the local customs, amidst Morocco’s ongoing struggle to break free from French colonialism?

This book is a really detailed and impressive look at a family’s life. It’s the first in a trilogy about growing up and living in Morocco, about a family that’s caught between being Arab and French. This is one of the most insightful books about Morocco and its cultural struggles.

Recommended by Danielle from The Amazing Traveler

books about morocco

 

Powered by GetYourGuide

Non-Fiction

In Morocco

For readers interested in learning about the Morocco that existed before the age of modern tourism, Edith Wharton’s In Morocco is a must-read.

Ethan Frome author Edith Wharton had the opportunity that very few Americans, and almost no women, had in the early 1900s – visit the exotic land of Morocco. Back then, only the cities had paved roads, english was practically unheard of, and the most traditional (and sometimes barbaric) cultural and religious rituals were still widely practiced. Wharton offers a clear-eyed, objective narrative of a bygone era that is insightful and fascinating.

Though famous for her critiques of American society, Wharton keeps her observations of 1920 Morocco mostly free of commentary. When she doesn’t, it’s on the issue of the treatment of women in a Muslim society – and there is perhaps no one better to write on that in this time period than Edith Wharton.

The Morocco that Wharton visited no longer exists, as tourism, globalization, and modernization have forever changed the country, so this is not particularly helpful for modern day travelers. But it is one of the most helpful books about Morocco when it comes to understanding Morocco’s roots, the conflict in the days of 1900s French colonialism, and how far Morocco has come since then. It’s also a classic in the travel-writing genre by an author always worth reading.

Recommended by: Maggie (Me!)

books about morocco

The Caliph’s House

The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca is the the delightful true account of Tahir Shah’s wild decision to uproot his family and move from their comfortable life in England to the chaos of Casablanca.

When Tahir Shah first buys the fixer-upper villa in Morocco’s capital city, he convinces his family that it will be a grand adventure. With its sprawling gardens, secluded courtyards, and an offer of a slower pace of life, Dar Khalifa seems like the perfect new home for Shah’s young and growing family.

But there is trouble from the outset. From the three servants that Shah unwittingly inherited from the house, to the Moroccan belief in invisible but mischievous jinns, cultural quirks that make doing business near impossible, Shah must navigate frustrating and often hilarious situations as he adjusts to life in a country very different from his own. This is one of the most entertaining books about Morocco that features life in modern-day Casablanca.

books about morocco

In Arabian Nights

In Arabian Nights by Tahir Shah (author of The Caliph’s House) serves as a mix of travel literature and personal exploration, set against the backdrop of Morocco. Shah’s narrative takes the reader on a journey through Casablanca, where he relocates with his young family. The book is an homage to the country’s rich storytelling tradition.

For travelers heading to Morocco, In Arabian Nights offers a glimpse into the nation’s culture. Shah traverses the Moroccan landscape in a journey worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights. He invites readers to get to the heart of Morocco through its stories, customs, and the daily lives of its people by exploring the ancient medians of Fez and Marrakech and journeying across the sands of the Sahara. His descriptions of the bustling souks, the architecture, and the warmth of the Moroccan people provide an invaluable context to anyone seeking to understand the country on a deeper level.

This book is a compelling read for those wishing to immerse themselves in the magic of Morocco before their visit. Shah’s journey illustrates how travel can transform us, encouraging readers to embrace adventure and the unexpected. Through his eyes, Morocco is not just a destination but a narrative to be part of, making In Arabian Nights one of the best books about Morocco for those seeking to learn more.

Recommended by: Diana from Travels in Poland

books about Morocco

A Street in Marrakech

American Elizabeth Warnock Fernea spent some time living in the old city of Marrakech in the 1970s. A Street in Marrakech is a narrative of her time there, as a Western stranger in a traditional Muslim city. Fernea’s journey of gaining the trust and acceptance of her new neighbors gives readers a close look at the Moroccans’ society, habits, and daily lives as she visits weddings, funerals, and traditional women’s rituals.

This is a fantastic book to read before going to Morocco because it helps you understand the country better. The story goes deeper than just exploring beautiful places and old buildings. It shows you how people live, what they believe in, and how they see the world. This book also talks about women’s lives in Morocco. It says that Morocco is safe for women but it also shares how different it can be from what many are used to.

By reading A Street in Marrakech, your trip will become much more than just a visit. This book helps you feel connected to the place and its people. It’s not just about looking at things but about really understanding Morocco.

Recommended by: Lavinia from Continent Hop

books about morocco

Have you read any of these? Think I’ve missed any books about Morocco that should be on this list? Let me know in the comments?

Like it? Pin it!

Planning a trip to the jewel of North Africa? Check out the best books about Morocco to read before your visit! #casablanca #morocco #sahara  Planning a trip to the jewel of North Africa? Check out the best books about Morocco to read before your visit! #casablanca #morocco #sahara

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This