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Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers

Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers
Josh Shoemake

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An edge city, poised at the northernmost tip of Africa, just nine miles across the Strait of Gibraltar from Europe and overlooking both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Tangier is more than a destination, it is an escape, and the Interzone, as William Burroughs called it, has attracted spies, outlaws, outcasts and writers for centuries - men and women working out at the edge of literary forms, breaking through artistic borders. This outlaw originality is what most astonishes when encountering the literary history of Tangier for the first time. Particularly in the past century, the results were some of the most incendiary and influential books of our time, the most prominent being Burroughs' Naked Lunch and Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky. The list of "edge" writers who were drawn to Tangier is long, among them Ibn Battuta, Samuel Pepys, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Walter Harris, Jean Genet, Paul and Jane Bowles, Tennessee Williams, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Patricia Highsmith, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Allen Ginsberg, Alfred Chester, Joe Orton, and Mohamed Choukri.

Author Info

Josh Shoemake read English at Columbia. He has lived in Morocco since 1996. He spent three years in Tangier, where he taught literature and formed close friendships with Paul Bowles, Mohamed Choukri and other local artists and writers. He then served for five years as headmaster of The American School of Marrakech and has published stories about Tangier in The Threepenny Review and elsewhere.


'... a sure-footed guide to the lore and literature of an enigmatic city.'
The Times

'An excellent book... and more lively than its predecessors. Time is compressed to whimsical effect, somewhat reminiscent of Max Beerbohm's Savonarola Brown...'
Robert Irwin, TLS

'Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers is a truly dazzling and extraordinary book. A work of literature in its own right, it's the perfect companion for an exotic journey or an armchair afternoon. The kind of book that educates, amuses, and charms with every page, it's one that reveals the magical underbelly of Tangier like nothing else.' 
Tahir Shah, author of The Caliph's House

'Josh Shoemake spent three years in Tangier, hanging out with some of the finest writers resident there, including Paul Bowles. His literary companion is a work of passion and of experience... a fascinating guide.'
Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

'This book is a fantasia of stories and quotes... It’s a heady mix of tolerance and vice, and is often very funny, too. Reading ‘Tangier’ is a bit like sitting at a cafe table on the Grand Socco with an old Tangier hand, which is, indeed, what the author is... a marvellously odd, gossipy romp of a book.' 
Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Country Life

'...engaging... this book, which takes the form of a discursive, often diverting stroll through the city’s labyrinthine streets, is as much about the writers who lived, wrote and looked for sex and love in them as it is about the streets themselves.'  
Thomas Hodkinson, The Spectator


Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Literary Guides for Travellers

ISBN: 9781780762760
Publication Date: 18 Jul 2013
Number of Pages: 288
Illustrations: 8-16 bw in 8pp plates

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