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Lulu in Marrakech Hardcover – October 7, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Johnson (like Lulu) clearly does not understand Morocco as well as she does Paris. How can she when the cultural setting doesn't allow her to meet any Moroccan women except as objects of charitable efforts? How can average Moroccan women understand us, if they are forbidden to either read or attend social functions with Westerners?
And how can Islamic conservatives join a dialogue with us when, as Lulu notes, they clearly cannot say out loud what they think: that our women look and act like whores (by their standards), that we can't meet in groups without the aid of alcohol, and that Westerners who travel to the Middle East don't even seem to honor their own religion, never mind respecting people whose religious principles direct every part of their life?
Johnson plays Lulu's inability to access Moroccan culture against a myriad of perspectives presented both by the other characters and by her chapterhead quotes from seemingly everyone on earth: from the Koran through Edith Wharton, Joseph Conrad and William E. Colby to someone named Orhan Pamuk, whom Johnson quotes saying,
"And now you've aired all your smug Western views, probably even having a few laughs deep down at our expense . . . but by inflicting your own naive ideas on us, by rhapsodizing about the Western pursuit of happiness and justice, you've clouded our thinking."
We've clouded our own thinking as well -- just think of America's recent accomplishments in the areas of happiness and justice.Read more ›
and just had to keep on reading. The ending however was disappointing and not as developed as it could have been to me. I rated it 3 stars as others might feel differently.
About two thirds into the book, I viewed a Youtube clip of Diane Johnson answering questions about her collaboration with Stanley Kubrick (she wrote the screenplay for "The Shining") and I thought, this is NOT a woman plagued by ambiguity! And so, I came to realize, all the negative qualities and experiences that I listed previously, actually worked to tell this story. This is not a 'nice' book because the story presented is NOT a 'nice' story! If you have ever read Paul Bowles (The Spider's House) and interpreted his work as a warning for the failures of colonialism, exploitation, oportunistic intervention and hypocracy of geo-political 'whims', LuLu in Marrakech is the result. As such, I read LuLu in a broader sense, not just as a story that takes place in Morocco. To me, LuLu, the Crumley's, Madamme Frank and the Cotters were all (yes possibly cliches) metaphors for American, British and French exploitation throughout the Arab and Persian worlds...beginning post WW1 and continuing today. Ms. Johnson chooses her words VERY carefully. She almost writes with a poet's sensibility.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two-dimensional characters, a poorly-held-together narrative, a ditzy heroine... I can't believe I kept reading, but I wanted to see what happened to these superficial characters. Read morePublished 16 months ago by J. Wood
I enjoyed this cross between a chick book and a spy thriller. Great feeling of the place, and expat life style. Read morePublished 20 months ago by NMProf
What Diane Johnson got right in this book is the necessary mindset of being an agent for the CIA. That is who LuLu is and she is on assignment in Marrakech in Morocco. Read morePublished 21 months ago by carol irvin
The book came faster than promised and was in great condition for a used book. I love Diane Johnson and this tale did not disappoint .Published on November 4, 2013 by WordDancer
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel framed through the device of the unreliable narrator, Lulu. Initially appearing as a naiive and somewhat fatuous American CIA agent, Lulu's actions... Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Tui Matangi
I enjoy reading Diane Johnson because she manages to be both lively and literate. Her other books--Le Mariage and Le Divorce--had the same easy charm. Read morePublished on November 17, 2012 by Jeannette W. Bertles
Other reviewers have criticized "Lulu in Marrakech" ("Lulu") for poor research about Marrakech, the locale of the story, and for the unbelievability of Lulu herself as a secret... Read morePublished on March 26, 2012 by M. S. Butch
Lulu in Marrakech could be titled "Lulu Clueless in Marrakech." I believe Diane Johnson is our most inspired disciple of Jane Austen, and has in Lulu written her "Emma" Novel. Read morePublished on September 7, 2011 by Patricia K. Peterson