The Tangier Diaries, 1962-1979 – John Hopkins

“A writer’s perfunctory yet absorbing diary of his life in Tangiers. Lifelong ÇmigrÇ and novelist Hopkins (The Flight of the Pelican, 1984 etc.), fresh out of Princeton and convinced that Wall Street and the professions were not for him, jaunted around South America and Europe before finally pitching up in Morocco. There, on and off for 17 years, he pursued with gathering success his literary ambitions. Cheap, exotic, permissive, Morocco (especially Tangiers) was one of the places to be in the early ’60s, especially for writers and artists and American millionaires. Now it all seems almost mythic, a great, outlandish American Bloomsbury. Hopkins delivers all the expected goodies and more: the requisite desert meditations (‘This is what the desert does. It leaves you with a terrible nostalgia for the purity you left behind. That purity was you”), the kef-censed evenings in the kasbah, the celebrity sightings. Beyond the usual literary suspects such as his friends Paul and Jane Bowles and William Burroughs, we have everyone from Malcolm Forbes to Tennessee Williams to the Beatles. Though a graceful, laconic stylist, Hopkins is not a natural diarist. He lacks the necessary daily dedication, curiosity, and self-absorption. Months can pass between entries, creating any number of bothersome and confusing lacunae. And though he may have mingled with the rich and famous, Hopkins wastes no time elaborating. He is content, for example, merely to note that he attended a wild party where he met the Beatles, and leave it at that. Finally, in 1979, Hopkins made the difficult decision to leave Tangiers and move to England with his new, pregnant wife. It would be cold and gray, but at least he’d be closer to the English-language publishing worldwithout having to return to America.”
Kirkus Reviews
John Hopkins, writer, friend and observer of Brion Gysin, has died
W – John Hopkins
Literary Review

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