Read A Street in Marrakech by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea Online

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This is a reflexive account of an American woman and her family's unpredictable journey through the private and public worlds of a traditional Muslim city in the process of change. As a Western stranger in Marrakech, Fernea was met with suspicion and hostility. The story of the slow growth of trust and acceptance between the author and her Moroccan neighbors involves the rThis is a reflexive account of an American woman and her family's unpredictable journey through the private and public worlds of a traditional Muslim city in the process of change. As a Western stranger in Marrakech, Fernea was met with suspicion and hostility. The story of the slow growth of trust and acceptance between the author and her Moroccan neighbors involves the reader in everyday activities, weddings, funerals, and women's rituals. Both the author and her friends are changed by the encounters that she describes. A Street in Marrakech is a crosscultural adventure, ethnographically sound, and written in an accessible style. Titles of related interest from Waveland Press: Azoy, Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan, Third Edition (ISBN 9781577667209); Jordan, The Making of a Modern Kingdom: Globalization and Change in Saudi Arabia (ISBN 9781577667025); and Omidian, When Bamboo Bloom (ISBN 9781577667001)....

Title : A Street in Marrakech
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385120456
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 419 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Street in Marrakech Reviews

  • Beth Bonini
    2018-12-10 03:04

    If you are travelling to Morocco - and particularly to Marrakech - I would highly recommend this book. Even though it is set during the early 1970s, when the author and her family lived in the Medina (old walled city) of Marrakech for a year, the author's insights are still really valuable and relevant. There may be more motorcycles than donkeys on the narrow winding streets now, compared to 1971, but the medina hasn't changed all that much in 40 years. It looks and feels ancient, and truly modern encroachments (except for cell phones) are few. Not only will a visitor recognise so many of the place names in the book, which is always satisfying, but the content gives access (in the sense of understanding) to the people of Marrakech in a way that one's commercial transactions in the souks and museums really do not. I was particularly interested in Fernea's revelations about the Muslim faith and how it is practised in Morocco. Just to give you some context, Fernea is married to an academic - her husband was an anthropology professor at the University of Texas at the time of writing - and she also refers to their experiences living in Iraq and Egypt. Her husband has come to research the market system in Morocco, but she and her three children are living a most unusual "ordinary" life. She refers to her ability to speak Arabic, albeit with an Egyptian accent, and the reader can infer that she had coping skills far beyond most Americans. She came to Marrakech when it was a glamorous and trendy place -- associated with a certain drugged-out hippie lifestyle - but except for a few references to some young, feckless American students who come into their orbit, Fernea's family was living in the very closed world of Muslim Morocco. Initially, she finds this world nearly inpenetrable - but gradually, and mostly because of her growing friendship with Aisha (a kind of household help, and also a neighbour) she begins to befriend some of the other women in the neighborhood.The book is told in chronological style, and covers exactly a year. It does have a kind of narrative arc, as the author goes from feeling utterly foreign to somewhat a part of things, but like real life it is mostly a chronicle of domestic life with the occasional Big Event. (A wedding in the neighborhood is one of the first big events which the author and her family get to experience.) At times, because of the many characters in the book - not to mention the difficult names - it can be hard to follow, but mostly I found it really readable.

  • Jamila
    2018-12-11 10:04

    I typically don't enjoy reading wandering narratives, but I just couldn't put this book down. It doesn't have a particular "aim" or single thread holding the plot together, but really is an account of various experiences of an American family living in Marrakech. Elizabeth Fernea does an excellent job of creating an intriguing narrative that outlines the difficulties of many vast cultural differences. She is thoughtful, honest, and provocative. I appreciate that she holds herself accountable when she discusses how her personal motivations sometimes wins out over her responsibilities to her friends (e.g. cooking for/impressing European friends while her Moroccan friends expect her to go dancing with them at the zaweeya). This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in studying about cultural differences and raising a family across borders, political and cultural.

  • Diane S ☔
    2018-11-17 10:25

    Fernea, Bob and their three children decide to live in Marrakesh, on the Rue Tresor, which is basically an alleyway, instead of in the area where the mother foreigners tend to live. She wants to really get to know and experience all that the Morocco city has to offer and get to know the real people that live in this city. In humorous and wonderfully straightforward writing. the reader follows the family with their difficulties in navigating a culture they are not part of or very familiar with.I enjoyed reading about this family, the children's problems and school and how they resolve them, the tasks of marketing and cooking are all unfamiliar and new. The people of the Rue Tressor seem not to like the strangers in their midst, they are looked on with suspicion and the family begins to think this will never change. Yet slowly and surely it does, small steps at a time. Wonderful view of this city and their culture. Not sure I could be as fearless as this family, though fun to think of experiencing something new.

  • Rebecca
    2018-11-18 10:23

    More than 30 years later, I can still identify quite a bit with the Morocco this author describes ... the community of a single neighborhood with all of its sisterhood, hospitality, competition, fears and celebrations. She is more open to authentic Moroccan experiences, and more understanding of the common threads between societies, than most books I've read from the same period.

  • Lilli
    2018-12-12 09:24

    This is by far one of my most favorite books. I am rarely able to reread books but this is one that I still find myself as mesmerized and interested as the first time I read this book more than 15 years ago.

  • Mindy McAdams
    2018-12-03 04:16

    One of the best books I've ever read. Why? It's about an American family who goes to live in a foreign place with respect and curiosity. The place is Marrakech, Morocco, in the early 1970s, when only three or four families in the neighborhood had TVs. The author has come with her husband (an anthropologist) and three children to stay for a year in a rented house in the medina, the old part of the city, where the streets are too narrow for any cars. Some of the neighbors don't have electricity or running water in their homes.Wonderfully, the book begins with the difficulties typical for anyone in this situation -- but Fernea is admirably scant on complaining. Her sentiments are mainly disappointment, because she and her husband had both hoped very much to become part of the life of their adopted community. For quite a while, it seems like that will never happen. She's not bitter or angry about it. She worries about her children especially -- they are at the perfect age for this experience, old enough to go out on their own but not yet dating and chasing boy- and girlfriends. Gradually, things begin to change, and some people in the neighborhood begin to let the Ferneas in, little by little. This is a marvelous thing to see, and Fernea very skillfully shows it rather than telling us. In fact this book is an exemplar of showing and not telling. The only thing she really "tells" are her own feelings, and she does so sparingly. I imagine Fernea had excellent editors (including, no doubt, her own family) to help make this story flow so well and reveal so much without ever getting bogged down or repeating itself. I don't say that to detract from her achievement here but rather to emphasize that this is far better than most personal accounts because -- even with her very personal view of the events and relationships -- it is universal. I love it so much that she was open, and patient, and she did not push or demand. She waited, and she treated people well, and bit by bit, the world opened itself to her.Toward the end, as she and her family prepare to return to the U.S., she worries about how her own presence and interactions with the women of her small neighborhood have changed them and their lives. Of course there's nothing to be done at that point. It's an excellent thought, though -- we are not encased in a bubble, and our movement through this world has consequences to everyone we touch. Read about the author's life in this tribute/obituary.

  • Andy Perdue
    2018-11-24 10:17

    My favorite book by one of my favorite authors, this captures a year in the life of an American family living in Morocco. I have read this a half-dozen times - and could easily pick it up again.

  • Bob Newman
    2018-12-14 08:12

    A Woman's Tale of Acculturation in a Moroccan NeighborhoodI read this book many years ago, back in 1982, to be exact. It has stayed with me all these years because of its warm humanity, its fine description and painstaking details about the slow building of friendship and understanding between an American woman and her female Moroccan neighbors in the Rue Trésor, a small street in Marrakesh. I used it in conjunction with other works on Morocco to teach anthropology courses--such works as Geertz' "Islam Observed", Rabinow's "Doing Fieldwork in Morocco", Charhadi's "A Life Full of Holes", Maher's "Women and Property in Morocco", and Dwyer's "Images and Self-Images: Male and Female in Morocco". All of these books portray some aspect of Moroccan society, some more anthropologically rigorous than others. While Fernea's book can be read purely for pleasure, it gives an excellent picture of what struck an American as different about Moroccan society, what cultural differences were most evident for her. If a reader can get hold of the BBC series "Disappearing World" program called "Women of Marrakesh", that makes an excellent companion to the book. A STREET IN MARRAKECH is a down to earth, interesting volume that will hold your interest and provide an excellent insight into another culture. I strongly recommend it.

  • Danielle Aleixo
    2018-12-05 10:26

    A Street in Marrakesh A tender story of an American family living for one year in Marrakesh. A real and beautiful tale of coexistence.

  • Maryanne
    2018-11-28 03:30

    A Street in Marrakech 10252007 a personal encounter with the lives of Moroccan women by Elizabeth Warnock FerneaI read this book many years ago, back in 1982, to be exact. It has stayed with me all these years because of its warm humanity, its fine description and painstaking details about the slow building of friendship and understanding between an American woman and her female Moroccan neighbors in the Rue Trésor, a small street in Marrakesh. I used it in conjunction with other works on Morocco to teach anthropology courses--such works as Geertz' "Islam Observed", Rabinow's "Doing Fieldwork in Morocco", Charhadi's "A Life Full of Holes", Maher's "Women and Property in Morocco", and Dwyer's "Images and Self-Images: Male and Female in Morocco". All of these books portray some aspect of Moroccan society, some more anthropologically rigorous than others. While Fernea's book can be read purely for pleasure, it gives an excellent picture of what struck an American as different about Moroccan society, what cultural differences were most evident for her. If a reader can get hold of the BBC series "Disappearing World" program called "Women of Marrakesh", that makes an excellent companion to the book. A STREET IN MARRAKECH is a down to earth, interesting volume that will hold your interest and provide an excellent insight into another culture. I strongly recommend it.I am an American woman who has been living in Marrakesh for the past 9 years. I just read this book. Even though it was written in the early 1970's, I found it to be a very accurate portrayal of life in the old medina, even now. The author and her husband are anthropologists, and both spoke fluent Arabic upon their arrival, from having lived previously in Iraq and Egypt. Therefore, the author was able to converse with people daily, and understand completely, what they were saying. This is something I have never been able to do. Because of this, she is able to give a VERY detailed look at an aspect of life which is nearly impossible for most outsiders to penetrate--the hidden life of Medina women, which takes place behind high, closed walls. What she describes is very similar to what I have experienced here of life with my Moroccan husband's family, and the people who live around them in the Medina. This book is NOT a study of political or historical conditions--it is the detailed, personal history of one family's year-long experience of living, and immersing itself, in the life of Marrakesh.I read this book in preparation for a return trip to Morocco and wish I'd read it the first time. This is a story of what it's REALLY like to move to a foreign country--non-western--and try to live as the people do. For those of us who have read books like "A Year in Provence" and suspect that it all sounds too good to be true, this book is a refreshing change. It's told from a woman's perspective, and focuses on domestic life, the sharp difference between public and home behavior in Islamic societies, the pervasiveness of religion, and male-female roles. I would have liked a bit of a broader perspective--the author's descriptions of public unrest and a strike were tantalizing, and I would have liked to know a bit more about what was going on in the country at the time, but she describes pretty clearly why Europeans or Americans, well-meaning though they may be, wouldn't necessarily be met with open arms.

  • McKenzie
    2018-12-08 07:04

    In preparing myself mentally for my upcoming trip to Marrakech, I was hesitant about reading one of the many travelogues written by foreigners who spent a year in Morocco, but A Street in Marrakech caught my eye, and I am thankful I gave it a chance. Elizabeth "B.J." Fernea moves her family of five to Marrakech in the 1970s when her husband, an anthropology professor at the University of Texas, gets a year sabbatical to research the markets of the city. The family had previously lived in Egypt and Iran, and was interested in getting to know Moroccans, so they chose to live in the Medina instead of the newer French district where the majority of foreigners live. Fernea's narrative details her attempts to get to know her neighbors, the struggles her children go through in learning French and adapting to a new culture, her husband's progress in his research, and her own thoughts and feelings as Marrakech becomes home. The most fascinating part of this is her relationships with the women on their street, as they come to accept Fernea as a friend and allow her into their lives. She learns about the religious customs, the expectations families have for their daughters, and especially about how the private lives the women have at home differ from their lives in public. Fernea's writing is strong and personal; she captures the essence of her friends, portrays the humor and occasional discomfort she encounters honestly, and above all illustrates how a seemingly chaotic Arabic Muslim country can come to feel like home if approached with an open mentality. Though I know Marrakech will have changed vastly in the 40 years since Fernea's family lived there, A Street in Marrakech helped me understand more about the culture and I am now even more excited for my upcoming trip. As in Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, I can recommend this for people with an interest in the subject matter, but may not necessarily recommend it to everyone.

  • Melinda
    2018-11-25 02:05

    The story of American woman and her family's unpredictable journey through the private and public worlds of a traditional Muslim city in the process of change set in 1970's. A very detailed story depicting a family living in Morocco trying to acclimate in their two year home. Cultural, religious issues as well trying to befriend neighbors along with fitting in as an outsider in all areas associated with an unfamiliar foreign environment. If you are hoping to find a travelogue rather than a memoir you might want to pass on A Street in Marrakech.

  • Mary
    2018-12-12 08:05

    Although written in the early 70's, this book is still a great introduction to Marrakech. If you are planning a trip there, this is a must read. It is well written, moves quickly and provides a wonderful description of this complex and rich city. It truly enhanced my visit there!

  • Augusta37
    2018-12-18 02:15

    One of my all time favorite books.

  • Annakarima Sanders
    2018-12-13 09:08

    wonderfull book, have read it 4 times already, ....as it discribes all i have seen ,,,

  • Heather
    2018-11-27 06:15

    A great book that shows how one slowly becomes part of a new culture. Wonderfully written and wonderful to read.

  • Shannon
    2018-11-17 02:27

    read as part of a gender studies class in undergrad

  • Rose Anderson
    2018-12-16 07:14

    Enthralling story.

  • Marieke
    2018-12-03 08:12

    4.5, really, and maybe 5. I don't know...I must think...