From desert adventures to stifling mysteries to ex-pat memoirs, these books about Morocco will transport you to the cities, deserts, and mountains of North Africa.
I always think it’s interesting how much you can tell about a country from the kinds of books set there, and these books set in Morocco almost all seems to be laced with mystery and/or adventure. Also heat. Because Morocco can, of course, be sweltering in certain areas.
We’ve got novels full of mystery and suspense, non-fiction about ex-pats making a life in a new culture, and children’s books full of legend and mythology. (One lack I’ll admit though: good non-fiction books focused more on Moroccan history! Any you’d like to share? Email me to let me know!)
Whether you are planning a trip to Morocco or just want to read about a new place, these books set in Morocco can definitely take you on an adventure!
Fiction Set in Morocco
In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani, Translated by Sam Taylor
After WWII, Mathilde, a French woman, moves to rural Morocco with her new husband Amine to live on his family’s farm. But she finds rural life in an unfamiliar country extremely trying, especially as a woman. This is the first volume in Slimani’s planned trilogy that is based on the history of her own family. For fans of literary fiction.
Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
All Florence wants in the world is to be a writer. When the opportunity comes to work for “Maud Dixon” a reclusive and mysterious writer, she thinks she has the opportunity of a lifetime. But on a trip to Morocco for research, everything seems to go wrong until Florence is faced with a choice that will change her life forever. This is a twisty book, but don’t read much more going into this. (I think all the blurbs give way too much away.) This is for fans of slow burn suspense.
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Alice and Lucy were once roommates, but they haven’t talked in over a year. When Lucy shows up to Alice’s home in Morocco, they try to redeem their friendship. But their relationship is strained and when Alice’s husband disappears everything is thrown into question. For fans of literary suspense.
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami
Lalami is most recently known for her books focusing on Moroccan immigrants in the US, such as The Other Americans and Conditional Citizens. But in her debut novel she tells the stories of four different Moroccan immigrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, all for very different reasons. For fans of contemporary and literary fiction.
The Time In Between by María Dueñas, Translated by Daniel Hahn
After a love affair, Sira Quiroga finds herself abandoned in Morocco. It is WWII though, and she can use her special talent as a seamstress to become a spy. While part of this book is set in Morocco, this book is also featured in our list of books set in Spain. For fans of historical fiction.
The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
When a woman travels to Morocco, her wallet and passport are stolen. But with this crime comes the freedom for her to choose her future and to be anyone she wants to be. This book is told in the second person, which perhaps serves to reinforce the message and exploration of identity. This is for fans of literary, character-driven suspense.
Sister Stardust by Jane Green
In this fictionalized account of the real-life 1960s figure Talitha Getty (married to Paul Getty), Claire becomes drawn into her orbit in Marrakesh, Morocco. But Talitha has a troubled life, and as Claire is further drawn into the drama, it may change Claire’s life too. For fans of contemporary fiction and historical fiction and novels that involve fame and glamor.
Leaving Tangier by Tahar Ben Jelloun, Translated by Linda Coverdale
Azel and Kenza, brother and sister, are two young Moroccans making a new life in Spain. But leaving may not always mean the grass is greener on the other side. For fans of literary fiction.
The Lioness of Morocco by Julia Drosten, Translated by Christiane Galvani
Sibylla is too independent for her traditional London family in the 1800s, and realizes marriage might actually be her escape. She and her new husband travel to Morocco, and she truly begins to find herself. But when her husband is arrested, it throws everything about her new found life and her family into question. For fans of historical fiction and family stories.
The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson
Set in the court of King Ismail in 1677, Nus Nus, and enslaved man being framed for murder, and Alys, an English woman sold into the king’s harem, become allies in order to survive. For fans of historical fiction.
Blood Feast: The Complete Short Stories of Malika Moustadraf by Malika Moustadraf, Translated by Alice Guthrie
Malika Moustadraf’s short stories tackle gender and class is Morocco, as women and others on the edge of society struggle to make their way. This is put out by a small press, and is for fans of literary fiction and feminist literature.
Year of the Elephant by Leila Abouzeid, Translated by Barbara Parmenter
This book was first published in 1989, and it was the first “novel” (I use quotations because really this is a novella and eight short stories) by a Moroccan woman to be translated from Arabic to English. The stories are set in the aftermath of Morocco gaining independence from France, as Moroccans work to understand what this means for them and their society. For fans of literary fiction.
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Bowles is well-known for his Morocco writing (in fact, in Who is Maud Dixon? the characters discuss his writing on Morocco). Hhere he writes about three American travelers in Morocco after WWII. For fans of modern classics and literary fiction.
For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri, Translated by Paul Bowles
First published in 1973, this novel follows a boy named Mohamed and his family as they walk from Rif to Tangiers. They are starving during a famine, and when Mohamed learns to steal, he finds himself in jail. For fans of modern classics and literary fiction.
Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie
In a Casablanca hotel room, Hilary Craven is planning her suicide. But instead, she gets an offer to become a spy and track down a missing scientist by impersonating his wife. This is more of a spy story than one of Christie’s traditional mysteries, but should still appeal to Christie fans. For fans of adventure stories and spy stories.
Explore the world even more with these books about Palestine!
Non-Fiction Books About Morocco
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
When the Shah family moves from London to Morocco, they buy a run down house that used to belong to the Caliph. But even though Tahir Shah grew up visiting Morocco, the cultural adjustment (and the hassles of the old house) are more difficult than they had expected. For fans of travel literature and stories about expats.
In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams by Tahir Shah
In Shah’s follow up to The Caliph’s House, he travels throughout the country of Morocco, through cities and deserts. Along the way, he collects the wide-ranging stories of Moroccan people. For fans of travel memoirs.
A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco by Suzanna Clarke
Clarke and her husband, while vacationing in Morocco, decide to buy an old house in Fez that is in need of restoration. This memoir chronicles their process of restoring the house using local and traditional materials, while also immersing themselves in life in Morocco. For fans of expat memoirs.
In Morocco by Edith Wharton
In 1917, Edith Wharton spent time traveling through Morocco. She hoped to see it all, but because of WWI, she found herself crunched for time. (“Only one month in which to visit Morocco,” she complains on the first page.) She sets out to see as much as possible though, and this is her travelogue. For fans of modern classics and travel memoirs.
A Street in Marrakech: A Personal View of Urban Women in Morocco by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
First published in 1975, this is an account of Fernea and her family, originally from the USA, living in Morocco. Her family was not necessarily seen kindly, and she observes the culture and society, and especially the women of Morocco, through this outside perspective in the 70s. For fans of expat memoirs.
A Year in Marrakesh by Peter Mayne
This ex-pat memoir was first published in 1953. Here, Mayne buys a house in Marrakesh and immerses himself in life there. For fans of ex-pat memoirs.
Children’s Books About Morocco
The Storyteller by Evan Turk
For years, Morocco had water to quench their thirst and storytellers who kept their history alive. But through the years, both the water and the storytellers have disappeared. Then a young boy looking for a drink finds a storyteller and discovers an amazing treasure. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
A Sweet Meeting on Mimouna Night by Allison Ofanansky, Illustrated by Rotem Teplow
Mimouna is a Moroccan-Jewish holiday that marks the end of Passover. When Miriam wants to help her mother make special treats for the holiday, the realize they have run out of flour and must visit a neighbor to borrow it. This is a story about friendship and sharing traditions. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
Solar Story by Allan Drummond
Noor Solar Power Plant in Morocco’s desert is one of the largest solar plants in the world. Here, a girl who lives in a nearby village, travels to school and tells readers about the solar plant nearby. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
The Butter Man by Elizabeth and Ali Alalou, Illustrated by Julie Klear Essakalli
In America, Nora’s father tells her stories from his childhood in Morocco. One night, he tells her about a famine he experiences, and how his own father had to search for food. Recommended ages: 6 and up.
Middle Grade & YA Books Set in Morocco
The Scorpions of Zahir by Christine Brodien-Jones, Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
In this adventure book for middle grade readers set in the desert of Morocco, Zagora Pym and her brother Duncan set out to rescue their kidnapped father and solve the mystery of the Oryx Stone. Full of fast-pace adventure and fantastical elements. Recommended ages: 10-12 years.
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Amani’s home is ruled by a brutal emperor, and she dreams of the days when they used to be free. When she is kidnapped from her home, she is forced to be the body double of the princess, who everyone hates. This is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel that pulls strongly from Moroccan culture. Recommended ages: 13 and up.
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