The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

In the tradition of A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family s move from the gray skies of London to the sun drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore conveIn the tradition of A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family s move from the gray skies of London to the sun drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge and nothing is as easy as it seems.Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Tahir Shah dreamed of making a home in that astonishing country At age thirty six he got his chance Investing what money he and his wife, Rachana, had, Tahir packed up his growing family and bought Dar Khalifa, a crumbling ruin of a mansion by the sea in Casablanca that once belonged to the city s caliph, or spiritual leader.With its lush grounds, cool, secluded courtyards, and relaxed pace, life at Dar Khalifa seems sure to fulfill Tahir s fantasy until he discovers that in many ways he is farther from home than he imagined For in Morocco an empty house is thought to attract jinns, invisible spirits unique to the Islamic world The ardent belief in their presence greatly hampers sleep and renovation plans, but that is just the beginning From elaborate exorcism rituals involving sacrificial goats to dealing with gangster neighbors intent on stealing their property, the Shahs must cope with a new culture and all that comes with it Endlessly enthralling, The Caliph s House charts a year in the life of one family who takes a tremendous gamble As we follow Tahir on his travels throughout the kingdom, from Tangier to Marrakech to the Sahara, we discover a world of fierce contrasts that any true adventurer would be thrilled to call home.From the Hardcover edition.See for an interview guardian travel vide
The Caliph s House A Year in Casablanca In the tradition of A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true By turns hilarious

  • Title: The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca
  • Author: Tahir Shah
  • ISBN: 9780553383102
  • Page: 476
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca”

    1. This is how I reviewed this book in The Washington Post:From The Washington Post’s Book World
It’s been 20 years since Peter Mayle wrote his bestseller A Year in Provence, and there’s no sign yet of the “Year In…” franchise flagging. After all, what two-week vacationer could fail to dream of a year in Provence, Marrakesh or Tuscany? These are modern Mediterranean fairy tales, and they’re put together with the simplest ingredients: magical neighbors, hellish builders and much more [...]

    2. The title sounded good and maybe that is how I ended up with this book in my bookcase. Good thing it did, because it was a very fun read, and so I couldn't put it down.Tahir Shah had been to Morocco when he was a kid and never forgot the place. I had been to Morocco at the Epcot Center in Florida's Disneyworld and never forgot my meal there. Mix dried fruits in meats or any food, and yum. I have a meatloaf recipe with groundup dried apricots in the center that I used to make for myself when I wa [...]

    3. This was an interesting story, because I picked this up, thinking that it was some type of historical fiction but, it was about a modern man's quest to re-establish himself in his homeland. I quite enjoyed the story, only because you could feel his journey - from learning what a 'jinn' is to understanding a women's role in Moroccan society - he just had a lot of things to learn.It's an easy read, no swearing or inappropriate scenes - a lot of it is just about day - to - day life. It's not for th [...]

    4. Kas man bija Maroka līdz šim? Valsts Ziemeļāfrikā, kur sensenā pagātnē kādu laiku mitusi mūsu eksprezidente Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. Varbūt vēl arī enciklopēdiski dati no vidusskolas laika, kad rakstīju projekta darbu par Āfrikas valstīm. Ideja to darīt toreiz dzima, pateicoties Albertam Šveiceram. Es nezinu, kas iedvesmoja citas meitenes vecumā, kas vairs īsti neskaitās bērnība (man bija mazpadsmit gadu), bet man tieši toreiz rokās nonāca šī humānista un medicīnas [...]

    5. A fascinating and often hysterically funny look at life in Morocco, through the eyes of an Afghan who was primarily raised in England, but has traveled widely. I loved the sayings which headed every chapter, such as: "Never give advice in a crowd" and "Every beetle is a gazelle in the eye of its mother." Shah was very lucky to be able to connect with his grandfather's life as well, because his grandfather had spent his last years in Morocco. Meeting those people who had known him and been touche [...]

    6. I have to confess that my opinion of this book may be swayed by my minor obsession with the following topics: Morocco; picking up and moving your life to a new and exotic locale; and refurbishing old houses with traditional techniques. Since this book is about the author's experience moving his entire family from England to Morocco, buying a villa and working with local artisans to return it to its former glory, it was right up my alley! The author has a wonderful, strong sense of self in his to [...]

    7. Another book that I don't know how to rate. It was amusing, I'll give it that. I think I would have gotten more out of it if I hadn't been living in Morocco for so long. During a lot of the book, I was thinking that the author was stupid or that he had done things that were really stupid/ naiive. Then the language thing - I guess he speaks fluent French and in Casablanca that works fine because everyone there speaks French but things were so easy for him because he always seemed to have either a [...]

    8. Tahir Shah came across as ethnocentric and self-involved. He barreled through his adventure (read: early mid-life crisis) thinking only of himself and his money; often times mentioning an author's paltry salary, then making an ostentatious building decision for his mansion. I was also perturbed by the way in which his wife was merely a sounding board for his frustrations. Read this book if you're looking for a way to flip mansion's in Morocco while swindling the local people and dismissing their [...]

    9. I have read a couple of these books were people do mjor life changes and it always amazes me how little preparation they take and how incredibly naive they are. He starts the books telling us that all his friends and family were against the move and I now agree with them. Not because of the idea of such a drastic move (from London to Casablanca) but because the guy is a bit of an idiot. For a start he makes no start on learning either French or Arabic, he signs a contract in arabic without getti [...]

    10. Moroccan craftsman working on zellij, beautiful mosaic tilework. Everything is made by hand!Teamwork!Zellij, beautiful Moroccan mosaic tilework.When I came across the title of this book, I thought it would be about the author's travel experience living in Casablanca for a year. But no This book is about the author buying(!) a house in Morocco, moving his family to Casablanca and their first year living in Dar Khalifa (the name of the house).When I started reading this book, I was a bit apprehens [...]

    11. Tahir Shah has a lot of good reasons for moving to Morocco. He wants to escape England and the rat race. He wants to recapture the magic of his own childhood vacations in Morocco. He wants to learn more about the grandfather that had died there years ago. He wants a house to renovate, one that will allow his delusions of grandeur to run wild. Shah gets all of that and more when he buys a crumbling palace, Dar Khalifa (The Caliph’s House) in Casablanca. He also gets three guardians (they come w [...]

    12. As someone with a personal connection with Morocco, who has lived there, who has gone through various trials and tribulations there, but who is still very much in love with the country, this book is definitely a 5 star read.Not only does Tahir Shah capture the funny side of the tough times faced in Morocco, but his feelings for the country, very much like my own, only grow on the completion of these difficult moments.This truly is a wonderful read. It definitely captures similar feelings to what [...]

    13. Tired of what he describes as his “meager existence” under the wet, grey skies of England, Tahir Shah decides to uproot his wife and young children and move to Morocco, chronicling their experience in The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca. Shah purchases the Caliph’s house (Dar Khalifa) in Casablanca, a dilapidated home, empty for ten years and situated on the edge of a shantytown. Upon entering his new home, he discovers his house comes equipped with a staff of three guardians and a sh [...]

    14. Take the movie "The Money Pit", move it to Casablanca, give the Shelley Long character two children but her only role is to get really angry a couple of times, give all the characters a language barrier with the locals, make the Tom Hanks character an idiot, give them a gardener, a nanny, a maid, three guardians and a personal assistant who cause more problems than they solve and you've got this mess of a book. The flow was weird - the author would describe something, say a search for new engine [...]

    15. I had a good time reading this -- my first book by this author. It won't be my last. He has several others.I love the idea of what author Tahir Shah did: He somehow convinced his wife to leave everything in their home in London and go with him, taking their two small children, to move into a sprawling, long-neglected grand house in Casablanca. Shah speaks no Arabic and (he says) poor French, but he manages to get along with the help of a number of diverse Moroccans whom he employs. I love both e [...]

    16. 3,5Šī bijapieredze :DEs nekad neesmu gribējusi pārcelties uz Austrumu zemēm un arī pēc šīs grāmatas - joprojām negribu :DNē, nu autoram ir krāsaina pieredze un no malas jau liekas smieklīgi, bet nuāli padomājot, diez vai es spētu būt ar tādu pacietību kā autors. Gan jau būtu pasūtījusi sargus ar Kvandišu un co piecas mājas tālāk jau ļoti fiksi. Un mājas remonta epopejatā taču var bankrotētLai nu kādi mīnusi bija Kamalam, man liekas, ka bez viņa autors būtu to [...]

    17. i really enjoyed this book!!! the different culture and its customary responses were hilarious to see as an outsider. I really like Tahir Shah's books and will be buying this for many people on my Christmas list is an easy read to pick up at any time and i am able to put it down. this is valuable for me who reads whenever i get a second and often cannot put down a book.It is made up of short stories.

    18. Ak vai, ak vai, ak vai, cik ļoti man sagribējās atpakaļ uz Maroku. Tahirs Šahs vieglu roku uzbur Marokas smaržas, garšas un kultūru lasītāja prātā un to visu pasniedz apburošā klusa humora garnējumā.

    19. The book is scenty. It scents of curcuma, ripe oranges, fresh ocean breeze, strong coffee, thick cigarette smoke, dead rats, broken drainage and donkeys. The book is loud. Loud with harsh and so unique arabic speech, crazy squeal of wheels here and there, people yelling at each other, imam calling for a prayer in the middle of the night, children playing outside The book is beautiful. Beautiful with dark-skinned men, women wrapped in veils, snow-white carved arabic palaces, blue mosques, dusty r [...]

    20. Tahir Shah writes a fascinating, non-fiction account of the year when he takes his family from the hustle and bustle of London to Moracco where they buy a dilapidated old mansion to renovate. It is an amusing look at the clash of cultures as Shah navigates through Moraccan society, a fusion of Islamic, European and African cultures, to restore the Caliph's House to its original grandeur. Along the way, he learns how to do things the Casablancan way, from buying building materials on the black ma [...]

    21. The author moves to Casablanca with his wife and two young children. They move into an old villa that is in disrepair. The book is the story of their first year, trying to adapt to Moroccan culture and to renovate the old villa. It is written in the style that is supposed to be humorous but that I can generally not stand - ha ha ha, I am totally unprepared and isn't that funny. I would have stopped reading but Shah also writes just enough about his insights into Moroccan culture and just enough [...]

    22. Teiksim tā, nekas tik izcils, lai klanītos, bet ārkārtīgi saistoši uzrakstīts ceļojuma romāns par islāma kultūru Marokā, kur jau izsenis tic džiniem un viņu pārdabiskajai ietekmei uz cilvēka dzīvi un labklājību, kā arī spilgti raksturoti marokāņi kā tauta, kurai nav nekā svarīgāka par savu pozīciju nostiprināšanu pār saimnieku/pasūtītāju/priekšnieku, darot visu pilnīgi pretēji plānotajam un prasītajam. Dzīvošana sabiedrībā, kur tēvs lūgšanas laikā l [...]

    23. This book was interesting, but a couple of things ruined it for me. First, some of the stories just seemed hard to believe. Perhaps the author's style just feels fictional, but I frequently felt like he was embellishing to make the story more interesting. He also lets people walk all over him, which may make for a wilder story, but it also makes him a less sympathetic character. Second, the author seems to have almost no regard for how much he's putting upon his wife to take on this adventure. I [...]

    24. 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 the conventions of those books rather closely. Nonetheless, Shah is an engaging and observant storyteller and the glimpses of his family history add depth. A very enjoyable companion to a Moroccan vacation.

    25. Shah, who is Anglo-Afghani, buys an old house in Morocco and moves his family to a new continent and a new life. The book details his cultural adventures as well as his struggles to revive and renovate the beautiful but decrepit house of his dreams.

    26. It is delightful tale of life in Casablanca with its neighbours and cohabitants including the jinns, not to forget the cafes (inhabited by henpecked husbands) and the merchants.

    27. В ''Къщата на халифа'', първата преведена на български книга на Тахир Шах, се редуват примамливо екзотични сцени, неподозирани културни различия, голяма доза хумор и много поука. Изцяло автобиографичен, романът разказва за едногодишния престой на автора и неговото семейств [...]

    28. Ļoti laba lasāmviela atvaļinājumam, kad sēdi omulīgā, sakoptā, klusā vasarnīcā un no savas drošās pozīcijas lasi par trokšņu un smaržu piesātinātu marokāņu bardaku. Es esmu Austrumu cienītāja, tomēr laikam aprakstītie piedzīvojumi man pašai būtu par daudz (neesmu tik bagāta/drosmīga?). Lai gan domāju, ka te ir sava loma rakstnieka literārajiem pārspīlējumiem un izpušķojumiem, lai radītu komisku iespaidu. Kopumā man patika, tāds "Shantaram UltraLight" varia [...]

    29. Keturios žvaigždutės, nes antroji Tahir Shah knyga "Tūkstančio ir vienos nakties šalyje" man patiko labiau. Kalifo rūmai - tai autoriaus susipažinimas su Maroku, jo kelionė po šios šalies tradicijas, papročius ir vakariečiui nesuprantamas, dažniausiai nerašytas taisykles. Kai kurios istorijos tikrai pamokančios, kitos - tiesiog juokingos. Šis autorius moka savo skaitytoją pradžiuginti, atpalaiduoti ir pririšti prie savęs. Nerasit čia nei įmantrios kalbos, nei sudėtingų g [...]

    30. It's the kind of book that makes you think; such things as: Does a book with so much bushwah in it make for a psychological case of mythomania OR a study case for good entrepreneurship? One thing is sure, It makes for good reading in a doctor's waiting room: you can redirect your impatience towards it and build up a smile for the doc. He'll definitely be the one with access to your innards in this case.

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