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.
- 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’)
- 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