Review: Lulu in Marrakech, by Diane Johnson

Lulu in Marrakech
Diane Johnson
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I had just finished re-reading The Eight. which had some lovely scenes set in Tangier, and wanted something similarly exotic. I was standing in Barnes and Noble, talking to my friend Deb on the phone, and I saw the lovely red cover with Lulu in Marrakech, across the center, and thought, “Ah, just what I was looking for!”

While I’ve read and enjoyed many of author Diane Johnson’s other novels, those involving an out-of-place American trying to navigate Parisian society, this novel seemed to be penned by a completely different woman. Sure the cover was pretty, and the concept – an American spy called Lulu is sent to Morocco to observe and report because she has a well-connected lover – was intriguing, but the book lived up to neither.

Instead of a bold heroine, Lulu (not her real name) was a meek, constrained, self-deprecating young woman, who wouldn’t even confront her lover when she suspected an affair. The supporting characters could have been cut from stock cloth, and while her observations of local life and culture were interesting, there was no sense of BEING in Morocco.

I don’t like to give bad reviews, and I always try to find something nice to say, but the best I can do about Lulu in Marrakech is this: it’s made me appreciate Johnson’s other works, like Le Divorce all the more.