43 books like The Last Storytellers

By Richard Hamilton,

Here are 43 books that The Last Storytellers fans have personally recommended if you like The Last Storytellers. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Sultan's Wife

Tahir Shah Author Of Travels with Nasrudin

From my list on or set within Morocco.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tahir Shah has spent his professional life searching for the hidden underbelly of lands through which he travels. In doing so he often uncovers layers of life that most other writers hardly even realise exist. With a world-wide following, Tahir’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages, in hundreds of editions. His documentaries have been screened on National Geographic TV, The History Channel, Channel 4, and in cinemas the world over. The son of the writer and thinker Idries Shah, Tahir was born into a prominent Anglo-Afghan family, and seeks to bridge East with West through his work.

Tahir's book list on or set within Morocco

Tahir Shah Why did Tahir love this book?

Good writers of historical fiction blend layers of fact and fantasy together into an irresistible kaleidoscope. The very best of them are time travellers. And, that’s what Jane Johnson certain is… for her magical novel, set in the days of Sultan Moulay Ismail, sucks the reader back through centuries to a time when the Barbary Coast was a wild rumpus of a place – peppered with palaces and pirates, treasure, secrets, intrigue, and danger. I love this book because it’s not a dry historical read, so much as an intricate observation on the relationship between people, both elegant and deeply touching.

By Jane Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sultan's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of The Salt Road and The Tenth Gift Jane Johnson returns with a captivating historical novel set in Morocco, The Sultan's Wife.

The year is 1677. Behind the magnificent walls and towering arches of the Palace of Meknes, captive chieftain's son and now a lowly scribe, Nus Nus is framed for murder. As he attempts to evade punishment for the bloody crime, Nus Nus finds himself trapped in a vicious plot, caught between the three most powerful figures in the court: the cruel and arbitrary Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of the most tyrannical rulers in history; his monstrous…


Book cover of The Assembly of the Dead

Tahir Shah Author Of Travels with Nasrudin

From my list on or set within Morocco.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tahir Shah has spent his professional life searching for the hidden underbelly of lands through which he travels. In doing so he often uncovers layers of life that most other writers hardly even realise exist. With a world-wide following, Tahir’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages, in hundreds of editions. His documentaries have been screened on National Geographic TV, The History Channel, Channel 4, and in cinemas the world over. The son of the writer and thinker Idries Shah, Tahir was born into a prominent Anglo-Afghan family, and seeks to bridge East with West through his work.

Tahir's book list on or set within Morocco

Tahir Shah Why did Tahir love this book?

The books I like about certain places tend to be written by people who have not been born and raised there. It’s because the author has detachment, which makes their sense of observation all the keener. But, best books about places seem to be by authors who have some ancestral connection to that place. It’s as though they’re attached to it through their genes. Saeida Rouass, was born in London to Moroccan parents. From the very first line on the very first page of her book Assembly of the Dead, you can feel she’s not English, but rather that she’s connected by some magical alchemy to Morocco, the land of her ancestors. Rouass is a dazzling writer, one who bridges East and West in the most exceptional and unusual way.

By Saeida Rouass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Assembly of the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Morocco, 1906. The country is caught between growing European influence and domestic instability. As young women disappear from the alleyways of Marrakesh, Farook Al-Alami, a detective from Tangier, is summoned to solve the case of the apparent abductions. Investigating crimes in a country without a police force, Farook enters Marrakesh on the orders of the Sultan. But, in a city under siege from famine and death, he must rely on his own intuition and skill to uncover the mystery of the women s fate. Will anything halt the spate of disappearances until then? And can a single, criminal pair of…


Book cover of Hideous Kinky

Buffy Cram Author Of Once Upon an Effing Time

From my list on living that 60s cult/commune life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up living in a housing co-op on Vancouver Island, BC. While not technically a commune, it did have some of the hallmarks. There were gangs of partially clothed kids roaming wild. There were a bunch of idealistic adults who had dreams of shared land stewardship and, well, shared everything. The housing project succeeded in many ways (it still exists today) and, it failed in other ways (over the years there were many fractures in the community). I’ve always been fascinated by attempts at communal living. I suppose my obsession with cult life is just an extension of this. It is my life imagined one step further.

Buffy's book list on living that 60s cult/commune life

Buffy Cram Why did Buffy love this book?

This book is about a young mother who takes her two daughters to Marrakech, Morocco in the 1960s so she can study Sufism, which, although not technically a “cult” does seem rather cult-like when described from the point of view of a five-year-old child who is watching her mother do strange ritual spinning to try to annihilate her ego.

You might remember the 1998 movie adaptation of this book starring Kate Winslet, but I think the book is better because of its dreamy, almost other-worldly descriptions of street life in Marrakech. This gem of a book is steeped in childlike wonder and longing and it will be over far too soon.

By Esther Freud,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hideous Kinky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unusual story about Marrakesh in the 1960's told through the eyes of a five year old child.


Book cover of Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail

Tahir Shah Author Of Travels with Nasrudin

From my list on or set within Morocco.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tahir Shah has spent his professional life searching for the hidden underbelly of lands through which he travels. In doing so he often uncovers layers of life that most other writers hardly even realise exist. With a world-wide following, Tahir’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages, in hundreds of editions. His documentaries have been screened on National Geographic TV, The History Channel, Channel 4, and in cinemas the world over. The son of the writer and thinker Idries Shah, Tahir was born into a prominent Anglo-Afghan family, and seeks to bridge East with West through his work.

Tahir's book list on or set within Morocco

Tahir Shah Why did Tahir love this book?

This book haunts me in a way that almost no other published work does. It’s like one of those movies we all have on a secret list – that we adore but can’t bear to ever watch again (like the Killing Fields or Fight Club). A memoir of almost unparalleled beauty and horror, it tells the true-life tale of the daughter of General Oufkir, who was put to death for attempted regicide. Malika and her five siblings were imprisoned for fifteen years in a penal colony, from where they mounted a daring escape.

By Michele Fitoussi, Malika Oufkir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stolen Lives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The daughter of a former aide to the king of Morocco, who was executed after a failed assassination attempt on the ruler, describes how she, her five siblings, and her mother were imprisoned in a desert penal colony for twenty years.


Book cover of Moroccan Traffic: Send a Fax to the Kasbah

Alana Woods Author Of A Legal Affair

From my list on suspense intrigue thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a career editor living in the place I love most in the world, Australia's federal capital, Canberra. It's a small city encircled by mountains and populated with so many trees it's affectionately known as The Bush Capital. I love reading most genres but contemporary suspense intrigue above all. I know these books generally fall under the larger Thriller genre but I often feel that's a misnomer, and I think that applies to my novels. I love the range of stories this genre encompasses: it can take you anywhere in the world, into any situation, and follow any type of person as they attempt to come to grips with, and usually right, the wrongs of the world.

Alana's book list on suspense intrigue thrillers

Alana Woods Why did Alana love this book?

Dorothy Dunnett is my all-time favourite author. In her lifetime she wrote the most amazing historical fiction (two series and one stand-alone novel) but she also wrote a contemporary suspense intrigue series featuring the same hero tackling new situations in each one: The Johnson Johnson series. Why do I love her writing? For several reasons. The stories are convoluted and gripping, requiring 100% of your attention, the language is beautiful and transports you, the research she did was phenomenal and her wit was razor sharp. She has a fanatical global fanbase that I'm part of.

By Dorothy Dunnett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moroccan Traffic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Morocco with her pushy and eccentric mother, Wendy Helman, upwardly mobile Executive Secretary, finds herself at the centre of kidnappings, explosions, murders and vintage car chases across the High Atlas from Marrakesh to Taroudant.


Book cover of Morocco: A Sense of Place

Melissa Addey Author Of A String of Silver Beads

From my list on exploring Morocco’s culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

On a trip to Morocco, immersed in new sounds, smells, sights, and tastes, I was hit with the idea for a novel about a woman in the 11th century, a time when a Berber ruler took over the whole of North Africa and Spain. It led to many years of research and correspondence with historians, and became not one novel, but four, telling the story of four women’s lives that interweave as a newborn empire rises. The books I have listed here were some of the ones that brought the place, the culture, and the era alive for me. I hope they can do the same for you!

Melissa's book list on exploring Morocco’s culture

Melissa Addey Why did Melissa love this book?

A deeply visual book, full of intricate details of craftwork and intimate moments of daily life, this is described as an ‘ideal photo album’ of Morocco, and it’s a very enjoyable and beautiful book to explore if you are planning to go to Morocco or longing to return after a trip there. A really lovely way to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture for a little while. 

By Marie Pascale Rauzier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Morocco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Morocco: A Sense of Place" is one of two titles in a new series of travel books designed to be an innovative mix between travelogue and armchair travel. Aimed at a young or young-at-heart audience, they are presented as ideal photo albums of your last favourite trip the one you wish you'd taken the time to put together, without the hassle of sifting through all your crumpled ticket stubs and badly centred photos of monuments hidden behind the heads of strangers. These highly visual and evocative volumes will be seized on by anyone with a love of travel and photography.


Book cover of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Namrata Poddar Author Of Border Less

From my list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns.

Why am I passionate about this?

Namrata Poddar is an Indian American writer of fiction and nonfiction, literature and writing faculty at UCLA, and Interviews Editor for Kweli where she curates the series, “Race, Power and Storytelling.” Her work has explored ways in which writers from across the world decolonize Literature. Her debut novel, Border Less, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether Prize, longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and featured in several media outlets including the “Most Anticipated” 2022 books for The Millions and Ms. Magazine. She holds a PhD in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Fiction from Bennington College, and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transnational Cultures from UCLA. 

Namrata's book list on debuts that subvert the mainstream Westerns

Namrata Poddar Why did Namrata love this book?

Another powerful debut on border-crossing, this novel begins with a frame-chapter or a prologue of sorts called “The Trip” that shows a group of Moroccans fleeing to Spain for a better life on a ramshackle boat. The following subsections, “Before” and “After,” zoom into the lives of the characters introduced in the opening chapter to highlight the socio-economic reasons leading them to risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean Sea illegally, and their gritty fate once the boat fails them, as they’re stranded in Spain or deported to Morocco. Some critics have called the novel a collection of interconnected stories, although the book’s “prologue” is hardly a standalone story; it aligns the novel instead with an alternative structural aesthetic, one that recalls the frame narratives of oral storytelling traditions like The Thousand and One Nights, an obvious influence on the book. 

By Laila Lalami,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A dream of a debut, by turns troubling and glorious, angry and wise.” —Junot Diaz​

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, the debut of Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Laila Lalami, evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain.What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger?

There’s Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the…


Book cover of This Blinding Absence of Light

Rebecca Kingston Author Of Plutarch's Prism: Classical Reception and Public Humanism in France and England, 1500-1800

From my list on why politics matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a student of the history of ideas, with a particular interest in political thought, for over forty years. I have read countless books, both ancient and modern, and in several languages, that explore themes related to public life. I am a dedicated citizen of a contemporary liberal democracy, but today, I live in fear of a growing backlash against liberal democracy. The risk of democratic backsliding in the contemporary US is real as citizens become more disillusioned with politics. In other liberal democracies, some party leaders are adopting populist rhetoric to enhance their electoral appeal, but in doing so, they are undermining some of the established norms of public life. 

Rebecca's book list on why politics matter

Rebecca Kingston Why did Rebecca love this book?

This is an amazing book!

Ben Jelloun was a political prisoner in Morocco for several years and was imprisoned in a dark cell in the ground in unimaginably horrific conditions. This book demonstrates politics gone wrong and the extent of the brutality that can be ravaged on other human beings in a system lacking justice or any sense of human rights and dignity.

Despite the intensely inhumane conditions of imprisonment, Ben Jelloun carries us along his journey and offers his readers an inspiring account of endurance and courage.

This book needs to be read by people in an era of democratic backsliding because it helps to demonstrate some of the things that are at stake when electorates become tempted by authoritarian leaders.

By Tahar Ben Jelloun, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Blinding Absence of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An immediate and critically acclaimed bestseller in France and winner of the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, This Blinding Absence of Light is the latest work by Tahar Ben Jelloun, the first North African winner of the Prix Goncourt and winner of the 1994 Prix Mahgreb. Ben Jelloun crafts a horrific real-life narrative into fiction to tell the appalling story of the desert concentration camps in which King Hassan II of Morocco held his political enemies under the most harrowing conditions. Not until September 1991, under international pressure, was Hassan's regime forced to open these desert hellholes. A handful…


Book cover of Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity

Melissa Addey Author Of A String of Silver Beads

From my list on exploring Morocco’s culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

On a trip to Morocco, immersed in new sounds, smells, sights, and tastes, I was hit with the idea for a novel about a woman in the 11th century, a time when a Berber ruler took over the whole of North Africa and Spain. It led to many years of research and correspondence with historians, and became not one novel, but four, telling the story of four women’s lives that interweave as a newborn empire rises. The books I have listed here were some of the ones that brought the place, the culture, and the era alive for me. I hope they can do the same for you!

Melissa's book list on exploring Morocco’s culture

Melissa Addey Why did Melissa love this book?

A fascinating book about women’s roles in shaping cultural identity in Morocco and within Berber culture, including details on the weaving of textiles, clothing, dance, marriage ceremonies, an alphabet only the women pass on to future generations, and more. Many of these details were important to me in my historical research, but are worth reading by anyone interested in the role of women around the world.  

By Cynthia Becker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amazigh Arts in Morocco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In southeastern Morocco, around the oasis of Tafilalet, the Ait Khabbash people weave brightly colored carpets, embroider indigo head coverings, paint their faces with saffron, and wear ornate jewelry. Their extraordinarily detailed arts are rich in cultural symbolism; they are always breathtakingly beautiful-and they are typically made by women. Like other Amazigh (Berber) groups (but in contrast to the Arab societies of North Africa), the Ait Khabbash have entrusted their artistic responsibilities to women. Cynthia Becker spent years in Morocco living among these women and, through family connections and female fellowship, achieved unprecedented access to the artistic rituals of the…


Book cover of The Sheltering Sky

Stephen McCauley Author Of The Easy Way out

From my list on for readers to travel who hate to leave the house.

Why am I passionate about this?

For much of the 1980s, I worked at a travel agency in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The travel benefits back then were amazing. Like most of my hippie-ish colleagues, I’d return from one trip and immediately plan the next. I was on a tour of Egypt (ten days for $300!) when I acknowledged I liked the idea of travel more than the reality. I was reading Flaubert’s letters to his mother from Egypt, and his descriptions seemed more real than the landscape in front of me. I still like getting on airplanes, but traveling through literature is the cheaper and, for me, more broadening experience.  

Stephen's book list on for readers to travel who hate to leave the house

Stephen McCauley Why did Stephen love this book?

I first read The Sheltering Sky on a train to New York. I was so caught up in the book, I hated to get off at Penn Station.

It feels as if the novel sprang directly from the author’s subconscious,  and it has an eerie way of burrowing into the reader’s thoughts and dreams. An American couple (modeled on Bowles and his wife Jane) embark on a journey deep into the North African desert. To say they have a complicated marriage is an understatement.

The murky sexuality of the characters, the astonishing descriptions of the landscape and the sky, and the truly shocking events make this a journey no reader can ever forget, even if you’d like to.  

By Paul Bowles,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Sheltering Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Sheltering Sky is a book about people on the edge of an alien space; somewhere where, curiously, they are never alone' Michael Hoffman.

Port and Kit Moresbury, a sophisticated American couple, are finding it more than a little difficult to live with each other. Endeavouring to escape this predicament, they set off for North Africa intending to travel through Algeria - uncertain of exactly where they are heading, but determined to leave the modern world behind. The results of this casually taken decision are both tragic and compelling.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Morocco, North Africa, and Spain?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Morocco, North Africa, and Spain.

Morocco Explore 45 books about Morocco
North Africa Explore 24 books about North Africa
Spain Explore 195 books about Spain