Trickster’s Tricks, Writing like a Trickster. Reading „Trickster Travels“ by Natalie Zemon Davis

Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds, by Natalie Zemon Davis, Faber & Faber, 2008, Paperback, 464 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0571234790, £10.99.

Close to completion of reading it, a beautifully designed and comfortable to hold paperback, handy to meet the need of a traveler.

This is the first time I publish a book review out of the standard format of the genre.

Here I employ a bullet list approach listed on a PowerPoint slide deck, following comments, asks and preparations for a discussion with friends for close circle consumption, which I expounded upon live.

Personal reflection

  • Bought the book ALC-ALIF bookstore at the American Language Center in Fez, Morocco, October 2022. Makes it an experience of a meta-Orientalism
  • The book captures musings on comparisons between Fez and Rome that were similar to mine, on my way from Fez to Rome during the same trip, only some centuries later


  • Semi-fictitious reconstruction of context based on speculative loose textual and historical associations generously spiced by conditionals (‘would, could, should, may have, may have NOT’…), and inspired by a mix of literary and historical approaches
  • Adding additional layer of imagined story telling vagueness on top of an anyway vague history (‘fog-to-mud’)

Sources Usage

  • Virtually anything from the Bible, the Qur’an, Ibn Khaldun to poetry, of which 90% are only remotely associated with the primary topic
  • Used as instrumental springboards


  • Fiction or history („a masterpiece of the historian’s craft“ stays on the book cover…)?
  • Associative fiction mimicking under the cover of academic historical narration


  • The real trickster of the book appears to be the author herself, bridging the two worlds of fiction and academical research writing
  • Reminds of a Vera Mutafchieva on steroids