Violence and debauchery in the Moroccan desert lead to cultural misunderstandings...and to more violence and debauchery.
On their way to a weekend of free-wheeling partying sponsored by a gay couple, Richard and Dally, David and Jo Henniger meet up with something both unforeseen and untoward. Late at night, two young Moroccans, putatively selling fossils to tourists, crowd in on the Hennigers’ car, and one of them, a young man named Driss, is run over. David checks to see whether Driss is in fact dead, and not knowing quite what to do, he and Jo put the body in the car and take him to the ksour of Richard and Dally’s, deep in the Moroccan desert. The situation is complicated by several factors, including David’s reputation as a drinker (and he had been consuming alcohol before the accident) and the suspicion of Hamid, a servant, that Westerners are utterly reckless and morally irresponsible. Although Richard feels there’s nothing to worry about—for if necessary, the opinion of the local authorities can be bought—Driss’ grieving father insists that David return the body and show at least some modicum of guilt and grief. While David is whisked away to Driss’ home, Jo remains at Richard and Dally’s. She’s disgusted with her husband (and actually has been for years) and feels liberated in his absence. David’s return in one piece is questionable. Osborne comes up with an ending that’s at the same time ironic, surprising and completely fitting.
A gripping read with moral ambiguity galore.