No city in the world has quite the exotic allure of Tangier. From the seventeenth century, it has been a place on the edge, beyond the normal disciplines of government, a city of refuge and excitements where sex is cheap, drugs are plentiful, and the outcasts of the world can breathe easily. The golden years of Tangier began after World War I and barely survived World War II. Among those who sought sanctuary in or inspiration from this legendary city were Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Paul and Jane Bowles, Ronnie Kray, the unhappy Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, Tennessee Williams, Joe Orton, Cecil Beaton, and Truman Capote. It is this “last resort of the living dead, alive but not madly kicking” which Iain Finlayson explores in his witty, enthralling book.
Iain Finlayson is books editor of Saga Magazine and reviews books for The Times as well as writing for Harper’s Bazaar and The Scotsman, among others. He lives in London.