"A hilarious, masterful romp through modern Morocco with all of its messy cultural politics and Internet realities. Mr. Elinson’s translation is a remarkable achievement in its balance of style, register, and flow. . . . Hot Maroc is a winner."—Jonathan Smolin, author of Moroccan Noir
"Yassin Adnan’s rollicking satire, in Elinson's witty translation, offers delicious glimpses of media corruption, political intrigue, and the way both thrive on Internet-facilitated innuendo and lies."—Margaret Litvin, translator of Sonallah Ibrahim's Ice
With an infectious blend of humor, satire, and biting social commentary, Yassin Adnan gives readers a portrait of contemporary Morocco—and the city of Marrakech—told through the eyes of the hapless Rahhal Laâouina, a.k.a. the Squirrel. Painfully shy, not that bright, and not all that popular, Rahhal somehow imagines himself a hero. With a useless degree in ancient Arabic poetry, he finds his calling in the online world, where he discovers email, YouTube, Facebook, and the news site Hot Maroc. Enamored of the internet and the thrill of anonymity it allows, Rahhal opens the Atlas Cubs Cyber Café, where patrons mingle virtually with politicians, journalists, hackers, and trolls. However, Rahhal soon finds himself mired in the dark side of the online world—one of corruption, scandal, and deception.
Longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2017, Hot Maroc is a vital portrait of the challenges Moroccans, young and old, face today. Where press freedoms are tightly controlled by government authorities, where the police spy on, intimidate, and detain citizens with impunity, and where adherence to traditional cultural icons both anchors and stifles creative production, the online world provides an alternative for the young and voiceless. In this revolutionary novel that recalls Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Dave Eggers’s The Circle, Adnan fixes his lens on young Rahhal and his contemporaries as they navigate the perilous and changing landscape of the real and virtual worlds they inhabit.
Yassin Adnan is a Moroccan writer, editor, and journalist. He is the editor of Marrakech Noir and the author of four books of poetry and three short story collections. Since 2006, he has researched and presented his weekly cultural TV program Masharef (Thresholds) on Morocco’s Channel One, and currently hosts Bayt Yassin (Yassin’s House) on Egypt’s Al-Ghad TV. Hot Maroc is his first novel.
Alexander E. Elinson is associate professor of Arabic language and literature, and head of the Arabic program at Hunter College, CUNY. He is the author of Looking Back at al-Andalus: The Poetics of Loss and Nostalgia in Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Literature. His translations include two novels by Youssef Fadel: A Beautiful White Cat Walks with Me and A Shimmering Red Fish Swims with Me.
6 x 9, 424 pages