Paperback: 158 pages

Publisher: Eye Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Sept. 2011)

ISBN-13: 978-1903070680

Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm

Zohra’s Ladder

Pamela Windo

£7.99

“A wondrous collection of tales that immerses the reader in a wold of ritual and deep sensuality.”

Pamela Windo chronicles her love of Morocco and its people in this wondrous collection of true stories, peeling back layers of history, paint, and finely embroidered fabrics to find the truths in the mysterious and the exotic. She describes the colors, flavors, songs, and textures of an almost dream-like nation. Her stories are of snatched affairs, unforeseen warmth, and subtle eroticism in shadowed courtyards. The results are liberating and uplifting portraits of places and people, each told with an extraordinary delicacy. Behind the veils, she discovers kindness, beauty, and passion that afford her life a whole new dimension.

Extracts

Speaking of Morocco immediately conjures thoughts of mystery and intrigue, of sunlight and sensuality, of exotic handicrafts to decorate our homes, and of a refined and aromatic cuisine. All these are true, in abundance. 

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Extracts

Speaking of Morocco immediately conjures thoughts of mystery and intrigue, of sunlight and sensuality, of exotic handicrafts to decorate our homes, and of a refined and aromatic cuisine. All these are true, in abundance. 

‘Chokran,’ I answered. Communication between us amounted to very few words; hand signals and facial gestures were our vocabulary. Sometimes I thought I detected a spark of adventure in her eyes. Travel has a way of bringing things out in people you might not otherwise see, and I wondered if she found me as interesting to watch as I found her. 

Around four o'clock, the calm was shattered. A blustery chergui wind picked up; doors banged open and shut, letting in flurries of sand. Outside, the desert had been transformed into a beige ocean of billowing, whirling waves with no distinction between sky and land. The distant huts of the settlement had vanished. The only thing I could see was a small herd of camels resting on their shanks, slowly chewing fodder, their huge protective eyelids disdainfully closed to the familiar occurrence. By now, my nose, ears and fingernails were filled with grains of sand, and my hair felt like gritty straw. The hostel keeper took pity on me and brought me a tumbler of water from a barrel to rinse my face and teeth. 

4. After peering nervously behind the doors in all the rooms, upstairs and down, I went back to bed and told myself it must have been one of the neighbourhood cats looking for scraps. But my imagination got the better of me. All I could think of were the evil spirits the Moroccans calldjnoun that they believe possess people and cause all the evil and sad things that happen to them, and that only exorcism can rid them of. I was used to being alone, but now I was terrified. There was no telephone in the house to call for help, and the neighbours now seemed like enemies. I was trembling, convinced I was being threatened by a djin, and suddenly the thought was in my head that I was going to die. I had no idea how or why, but I was going to die before the morning.

quotes

“A delightful, easy-to-read book”

“Recommended” (Lonely Planet)

“The stories richly depict Morocco in an almost cinematic way.”

“Either you do as your neighbours do, or you move away” (Moroccan proverb)

“He who has nothing to live for has nothing to die for” (Moroccan proverb)

reviews

 Morocco bound!

A delightful, easy-to-read book - very personal stories, sensitively told by a writer who obviously loves Morocco and its people with a passion. Even though I'm a reluctant traveller, reading Zohra's Ladder actually made me want to get up and go! 

Great stories

This book is recommended by Lonely Planet so I bought it before setting off to Morocco last month. While using their recommendations to find places to stay and things to do, I kept reading the stories as I went along and found myself more in tune with the people around me. The stories gave me a sense of reality and honesty, as well as a sense of humour that is vital while travelling.

extras

ABOUT

Pamela Windo

Pamela Windo was born in Brighton, England, in 1942. She left school at 16 to travel, first to Paris and Berlin, then to North Africa, where she lived with the family of a Tunisian student she had fallen in love with in London. While there, she worked in the U.S. Embassy and as a radio operator on the construction of a dam.

Back in England, after a first marriage and divorce, and with two young sons, she married childhood friend Gary Windo, a gifted saxophone player who’d just come back from New York, and who encouraged her to play piano. Soon, she found herself alongside musicians like Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt, Brotherhood of Breath’s Louis Moholo, and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, with whom she recorded and played her first gig.

When the couple immigrated to Woodstock, New York, Windo joined the Gary Windo Quartet with bass player Steve Swallow. She went on to form a band of her own, Pam Windo & the Shades, and after a showcase at the Whisky-a-Go-Go in L.A., was signed by Albert Grossman.

In 1987, Windo bowed out of the music scene and began to write, and was first published in New York City’s Village Voice. With a novel in mind, she went to Morocco where she lived, traveled, and wrote for the next seven years. During her stay, she taught English to the children of the governor of Tiznit, became a member of the Moroccan-American Circle headed by Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, and worked as location assistant for Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, shot in Ouarzazate.

On returning to the United States, Windo wrote several books and magazine articles about her travels in Morocco, as well as giving presentations at New York University, and The American Museum of Natural History in New York. As a publicist for tourism, she was chosen by the Moroccan Ambassador to the United Nations to present Morocco to the United Nations community.

In 2004, twelve years after Gary Windo’s untimely death, a retrospective collaborative CD titled Anglo-American was chosen by the BBC as Jazz Album of the Week. Another retrospective CD—a series of free-improvisation tracks recorded during the couple’s years together—was released in 2007.

In April 2014, Windo released her new book, Him through Me: making love and music in the Sixties & Seventies.  She lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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