Monday, December 19, 2005

The Caliph's House, Tahir Shah

Subtitled A Year in Casablanca, this book chronicles one man's purchase and renovation of an estate in Morocco. His tale of foreign home renovation and culture discovery is in the same vein as Peter Mayle's delightful A Year in Provence. In this completely different world than France (although they do speak French), Tahir Shah explores his own family history, ethnicity, culture and more. He contends with difficult employees, bad spirits, and an upside-down government system while making friends with a stamp-collector, a countess and some chamelons.

A brisk journey through the year, The Caliph's House is an easy read, but not without depth. Shah has such a keen eye to his surroundings that he need not use many words to convey a feeling or introduce a person. The story has been done before and as long as people feel like uprooting their families and moving to lands unknown to their own experiences, this story will repeat itself. But the cast of characters is so different, the culture so colorful that it is nearly impossible not to fall in love with Morocco.

Recommended for Armchair Travelers, Culture Explorers and Home Remodelers

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