The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

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Doubleday, 2006 - Dwellings - 356 pages
247 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
Really like his style of writing. - Goodreads
I loved this introduction to Morocco. - Goodreads
I really liked the author's writing style. - Goodreads
And there are lovely illustrations too. - Goodreads
It gave great insight into Moroccan culture. - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Elaine - Goodreads

A delightful and funny account of living - and renovating - in Morocco. I have never read any of the My Year Under The Sun with Quaint but Wise and Eccentric Locals genre, but suspect the book follows ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Jenna - Goodreads

I liked the author's descriptions of the area, and his the cultural challenges he overcame. I also liked that it was based on a true story. Since it is from a male perspective, I believe both genders could enjoy this book equally. Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Born in 1966 into a distinguished Afghan family (his father was the philosopher Idries Shah), Tahir Shah is the author of 10 books including Sorcerer's Apprentice, In Search of King Solomon's Mines and House of the Tiger King. A member of the Royal Geographical Society, he is also a documentary film-maker and photographer and lives in Casablanca with his wife and two children.

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