I recently read Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah. It’s not quite a travel book but close. It’s about Shah’s moving into and fixing up a house in Casablanca and all the trials and tribulations that occur. Along with the whole house fixing up are the issues of moving to a new country and adjusting to the customs, trying to figure out exactly who to call for this that and the other thing. Who to listen to when the house servants (who came with the house unbeknownst to Shah) insist there are jinns in the house and there needs to be an exorcism.
All in all it was a fun read, interesting and descriptive, my big question is what was his wife doing all this time. He barely mentions her except in passing when she offers support but otherwise I’ve no clue to what she thought about this whole experience.
As a good book does it gets you interested in the topic and send you looking for more, in this case books that take place in Casablanca and area (I wasn’t as interested in the actual house fixing up parts).
Brief list of books I’ll be hopefully checking out sometime soon:
Living in Morocco: Design from Casablanca to Marrakesh by Lisl Dennis
Secret Son by Laila Lalami
Last Friend by Tahar ben Jelloun
Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
In Morocco by Edith Wharton
A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco by Suzanna Clarke
Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi
And Shah continues his story in In Arabian Nights.