Jason Goodwin

The Adventures of a Crafty Convert

Trickster Travels: In Search of Leo Africanus, A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds

By

Faber & Faber 435pp £20 order from our bookshop

Natalie Zemon Davis is best known for her book The Return of Martin Guerre, a study of identity and dissimulation in the late medieval world which was turned into a successful film. Trickster Travels revisits some of those themes, moving from Islamic Spain to Morocco, Egypt and papal Rome at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Al-Hasan al-Wazzan was born to a Muslim family in Granada in the late 1480s, the last years of Islamic rule in Spain. Granada was always to be an evocative and bitter memory for the Andalusian émigrés who found their way to Fez; al-Hasan, Davis says, remembered it in the colour of Spanish tiles, and in the cut of his mother’s knee-length white veil, which she wore in the street. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,
    • RT : I regularly make purchases based on - it’s excellent.,
    • RT : I wrote about Yoko Ogawa's dreamlike, allegorical novel The Memory Police, newly published in English in a translat… ,
    • 'At this frankly apocalyptic moment for indigenous rights in Brazil, John Hemming’s "People of the Rainforest" is a… ,
    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,
    • 'He has long been eclipsed by Vermeer, though his interiors are arguably more ambitious.' David Gelber on the Dutc… ,