Hot Maroc

Author: Yassin Adnan

Publishing House: Syracuse University Press

Publication Year: 2021

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 424

In “Hot Maroc,” Yassin Adnan skillfully presents a sharp and humorous critique of modern-day Morocco, with a particular focus on the vibrant city of Marrakech. The narrative unfolds through the lens of the endearingly awkward Rahhal Laâouina, affectionately known as the Squirrel. Armed with a degree in ancient Arabic poetry, a skill seemingly disconnected from practicality, Rahhal seeks solace and purpose in the digital realm.

Within this cybernetic landscape, Rahhal establishes the Atlas Cubs Cyber Café, a unique space that serves as a melting pot for a diverse array of individuals, including politicians, journalists, hackers, and trolls. Despite the allure of online anonymity, Rahhal finds himself gradually entangled in the web’s murkier aspects—corruption, scandal, and deceit. The novel, longlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, transcends the boundaries of a conventional narrative, offering an essential commentary on the state of press freedom, police surveillance, and cultural constraints in Morocco.

A poignant exploration of the experiences of marginalized youth seeking refuge in the online world, “Hot Maroc” draws apt comparisons to literary works such as Junot Díaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and Dave Eggers’s “The Circle.” The novel skillfully navigates the delicate balance between the real and virtual realms, prompting readers to reflect on the complex interplay between these two dimensions.

In essence, Adnan’s work transcends mere storytelling, evolving into a multifaceted commentary on contemporary Moroccan society. “Hot Maroc” speaks to the universal struggles of the marginalized while offering a nuanced perspective on the intersection of technology, culture, and societal constraints. The novel’s humor, coupled with its incisive critique, ensures a thought-provoking and engaging exploration of the intricate dynamics at play in the digital age.

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