The Caliph's house: a year in Casablanca

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Doubleday, 2006 - Social Science - 356 pages
315 Reviews
Look into the eyes of a jinn and you stare into the depths of your own soul (Moroccan proverb) Writer and film-maker Tahir Shah - in his 30s, married, with two small children - was beginning to wilt under brash, cramped, ennervating British city life. Flying in the face of friends' advice, he longed to fulfil his dream of finding somewhere far removed from London - a place bursting with life, colour, history and romance - in which to raise a family. Childhood memories of holidaying with his parents, and of a grandfather he barely knew, led him to Morocco and to Dar Khalifa, a sprawling, long-abandoned (but for its jinns) mansion on the edge of Casablanca's shanty town that, rumour had it, once belonged to the city's Caliph. And so begins Tahir Shah's gloriously vivid, affectionate and compelling account of how he and his family - aided, abetted and so often hindered by a wonderful cast of larger-than-life local characters: guardians, gardeners, builders, artisans, bureacrats and police (not to mention the original neighbours from hell and the jinns, those spirits that haunt the house) - returned the Caliph's House to its former glory and learned to make this most exotic and alluring of countries their home. The Caliph's House is a story of home-ownership abroad - full of the attendant dramas, anxieties and frustrations - but it is also much more. Woven into the narrative is the author's own journey of self-discovery, of learning something of his grandfather, and of coming to love this magical, multi-faceted, contradictory country.

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Amazing storytelling story for journalist - Goodreads
I hated the author personally as well as his writing. - Goodreads
I loved this introduction to Morocco. - Goodreads
Clever & funny portrayal of expat life in Casablanca. - Goodreads
Furthermore I was disappointed by the ending. - Goodreads
Really like his style of writing. - Goodreads

Review: The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

User Review  - Greg - Goodreads

This is not a travel book. Nor is it a guide on how to buy property aboard, unless you are one of those fortunate people who are related to royalty. It is an easy read and an insight into the Moroccan ... Read full review

Review: The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

User Review  - Peejay Who Once Was Minsma - Goodreads

Okay, I get it. This is a black comedy and we're supposed to laugh a Tahir Shah's fecklessness, but he was often too feckless for me. I wanted to slug him as often as I wanted to laugh at/with him ... Read full review

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