Morocco John

I found John Updike‘s “Morocco” (1979, from the book My Father’s Tears and Other Stories) a fascinating travelogue story.

Visited by an American family living in England—the year is 1969—Morocco is a land of disturbing men, “little girls in multicolored Berber costume” with their flowers to sell, swaying buses, and even quiet sexual perversion. As it happens, it is a far from lovable country, and a far from perfect vacation. It is feared, in fact, that Morocco might get sinister after Dad runs a red light and the police appear. So the man zips away.

The twelve-page story shows how foreign to Westerners an Eastern country can be. But Updike also uses his elegant prose to smile on family unity (even after a divorce), a unity that follows “the maximum family compression” of the Morocco trip. It should be noted, though, that this realization comes during a vacation in France, a Western land.

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