Spain and Morocco by Alex Fellows
Flirting with gloom, though never descending into a depressive narrative, Alex Fellows’ Spain And Morocco might be better framed as embarrassing. Embarrassing if you’ve ever been a young, clueless, frustrated guy, which, I believe, accounts for most males of a certain age. And funny, despite the moody shadows cast upon it.
The title refers to two specific trips, one to Spain, one to Morocco, each richly rendered with its own particular drama revolving around the people Walt and Doug meet on their journey. It all begins as a “we’re not tied down, we can do anything” tirade, but what they find is that vacation from life doesn’t mean vacation from reality. People are still very much entrenched in their own psychologies, wherever you meet them.
They think they want adventure, want the unknown, but what they really desire is to shake off the sameness. You don’t have to go to Spain or Morocco to achieve that, but the romanticism of world travel for the young has created a situation where it such journeys have becomes rites of passage where everything changes. That’s a pretty big expectation of anything, especially when what you really desire is some companionship and a night out of your apartment.
What they find in each location seems like a misadventure at best. Spain yields confusing romantic undertones that might not even really exist, while Morocco hints at real danger and gives the feeling of being on the edge of what an American considers normal life.
But there is something else going on here, too, something mystical and even evil, that speaks to what lurks inside the sort of young man the story portrays and what a female might perceive. Satan looms large over the story in unexpected ways, as does the complexity of his appearance, all of which play a part in the cryptic final pages of the book.
Fellows doesn’t lay it out for anyone, prefer the ending to sit and fester in your brain for awhile, suggesting that the true value of an adventure is not knowing how it will end. That is the unknown Walt and Doug sought, and Fellows is giving it to his readers to share.
- John Seven