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A Year in Marrakesh

Michael Palin picks A YEAR IN MARRAKESH by Peter Mayle as one of his top ten books. One of those travel classics in the Englishman (of some means) abroad vein, this shows a great deal of sensitivity to both Morocco and Marrakesh a country and city I love, too. Rather like Jan Morriss book on Venice, this takes relish in the place, and the life of the place, looking underneath the surface veneer. Its not so much a guide to the sights as the story of Maynes year there, the people he met and the problems of living there. The book is exquisitely written, it strikes just the right note throughout, and whenever I read it, I want to rush off there again.

Peter Mayne was born in England in 1908. At the age of twenty he went out to India, where his father was a serior member of the Department of Education. For a while he worked as a mercantile assistant in a firm of merchant-shippers, but he was never a successful businessman. At the time of Partition, the Pakistan Government invited him to serve as Deputy Secretary to the Ministry of Refugees and Rehabilitation. When the tension died down, he resigned from government service and settled in Morocco to write his first book. He died in 1979.

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