The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca By Tahir Shah, 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: 265
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca By Tahir Shah, 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 By Tahir Shah,
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    About "Tahir Shah"

    1. Tahir Shah

      Tahir Shah is the author of fifteen books, many of which chronicle a wide range of outlandish journeys through Africa, Asia and the Americas For him, there s nothing so important as deciphering the hidden underbelly of the lands through which he travels Shunning well trodden tourist paths, he avoids celebrated landmarks, preferring instead to position himself on a busy street corner or in a dusty caf and observe life go by Insisting that we can all be explorers, he says there s wonderment to be found wherever we are it s just a matter of seeing the world with fresh eyes.In the tradition of A Thousand and One Nights, Shah s first 2013 release, SCORPION SOUP, is a treasury of nested tales One linking effortlessly into the next, the stories form a cornucopia of lore and values, the kind that has for centuries shaped the cultural landscape of the East Amusing, poignant, and thoroughly entertaining, the collection stays with you, conjuring a magic all of its own.Shah s 2012 novel, TIMBUCTOO, is inspired by a true life tale from two centuries ago The story of the first Christian to venture to Timbuctoo and back a young illiterate American sailor it has been an obsession since Shah discovered it in the bowels of the London Library twenty years ago Timbuctoo will be released July 13, 2012.His 2011 collection entitled TRAVELS WITH MYSELF is a body of work as varied and as any, with reportage pieces as diverse as the women on America s Death Row, to the trials and tribulations of his encounter in a Pakistani torture jail.Another recent work, IN ARABIAN NIGHTS, looks at how stories are used in cultures such as Morocco, as a matrix by which information, values and ideas are passed on from one generation to the next That book follows on the heels of the celebrated CALIPH S HOUSE A Year in Casablanca, lauded as one of Time Magazine s Top 10 Books of the year.His other works include an epic quest through Peru s cloud forest for the greatest lost city of the Incas HOUSE OF THE TIGER KING , as well as a journey through Ethiopia in search of the source of King Solomon s gold IN SEARCH OF KING SOLOMON S MINES Previous to that, Shah published an account of a journey through the on the trail of the Birdmen of the TRAIL OF FEATHERS , as well as a book of his experiences in India, as a godman s pupil SORCERER S APPRENTICE.Tahir Shah s books have appeared in thirty languages and in than seventy editions They are celebrated for their original viewpoint, and for combining hardship with vivid description.He also makes documentary films, which are shown worldwide on National Geographical Television, and The History Channel The latest, LOST TREASURE OF AFGHANISTAN, has been screened on British TV and shown worldwide While researching the programme Shah was arrested along with his film crew and incarcerated in a Pakistani torture jail, where they spent sixteen terrifying days and nights.His other documentaries include HOUSE OF THE TIGER KING, SEARCH FOR THE LOST CITY OF GOLD, and THE SEARCH FOR KING SOLOMON S MINES And, in addition to documentaries, Shah writes for the big screen His best known work in this genre is the award winning Imax feature JOURNEY TO MECCA, telling the tale of the fourteenth century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta s first pilgrimage to Mecca.Tahir Shah lives at Dar Khalifa, a sprawling mansion set squarely in the middle of a Casablanca shantytown He s married to the graphic designer, Rachana Shah, and has two children, Ariane and Timur His father was the Sufi writer, Idries Shah.tahirshahtwitter humanstewfacebook TahirShahAuthoryoutube user tahirshah999pinterest tahirshah

    317 thoughts 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 olive oil than you expect [...]


    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 was si [...]


    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 those looking fo [...]


    4. Kas man bija Maroka l dz im Valsts Zieme frik , kur sensen pag tn k du laiku mitusi m su eksprezidente Vaira V e Freiberga Varb t v l ar enciklop diski dati no vidusskolas laika, kad rakst ju projekta darbu par frikas valst m Ideja to dar t toreiz dzima, pateicoties Albertam veiceram Es nezinu, kas iedvesmoja citas meitenes vecum , kas vairs sti neskait s b rn ba man bija mazpadsmit gadu , bet man tie i toreiz rok s non ca hum nista un medic nas mision ra Apv r a s rij izdot gr mata V stules no [...]


    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 touched by him [...]


    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 tone, a [...]


    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 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 translator [...]


    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 cultur [...]


    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 getting an [...]


    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 apprehensive tha [...]


    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 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 when he buys a crumbling palace, Dar Khalifa The Caliph s House in Casablanca He also gets three guardians they come with the house He ge [...]


    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 she jinn known [...]


    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 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 for his [...]


    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 experiences [...]


    16. 3,5 bijapieredze DEs nekad neesmu grib jusi p rcelties uz Austrumu zem m un ar p c s gr matas joproj m negribu DN , nu autoram ir kr saina pieredze un no malas jau liekas smiekl gi, bet nu li padom jot, diez vai es sp tu b t ar t du paciet bu k autors Gan jau b tu pas t jusi sargus ar Kvandi u un co piecas m jas t l k jau oti fiksi Un m jas remonta epopejat ta u var bankrot tLai nu k di m nusi bija Kamalam, man liekas, ka bez vi a autors b tu tom r nogrimis.Simp tisks t ls lik s marku kr j js Hi [...]


    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 oti man sagrib j s atpaka uz Maroku Tahirs ahs vieglu roku uzbur Marokas smar as, gar as un kult ru las t ja pr t un to visu pasniedz apburo klusa humora garn jum.


    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 roads [...]


    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 mark [...]


    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 about [...]


    22. Teiksim t , nekas tik izcils, lai klan tos, bet rk rt gi saisto i uzrakst ts ce ojuma rom ns par isl ma kult ru Marok , kur jau izsenis tic d iniem un vi u p rdabiskajai ietekmei uz cilv ka dz vi un labkl j bu, k ar spilgti raksturoti marok i k tauta, kurai nav nek svar g ka par savu poz ciju nostiprin anu p r saimnieku pas t t ju priek nieku, darot visu piln gi pret ji pl notajam un pras tajam Dz vo ana sabiedr b , kur t vs l g anas laik liek sist plaukstas b rnam, kur paliek sarg t veikala kas [...]


    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 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 kept thi [...]


    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. , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , [...]


    28. oti laba las mviela atva in jumam, kad s di omul g , sakopt , klus vasarn c un no savas dro s poz cijas lasi par trok u un smar u pies tin tu marok u bardaku Es esmu Austrumu cien t ja, tom r laikam aprakst tie piedz vojumi man pa ai b tu par daudz neesmu tik bag ta drosm ga Lai gan dom ju, ka te ir sava loma rakstnieka liter rajiem p rsp l jumiem un izpu ojumiem, lai rad tu komisku iespaidu Kopum man patika, t ds Shantaram UltraLight variants Var tu pretend t uz 4 zvaigzn m, ja b tu nedaudz vai [...]


    29. Keturios vaig dut s, nes antroji Tahir Shah knyga T kstan io ir vienos nakties alyje man patiko labiau Kalifo r mai tai autoriaus susipa inimas su Maroku, jo kelion po ios alies tradicijas, papro ius ir vakarie iui nesuprantamas, da niausiai nera ytas taisykles Kai kurios istorijos tikrai pamokan ios, kitos tiesiog juokingos is autorius moka savo skaitytoj prad iuginti, atpalaiduoti ir priri ti prie sav s Nerasit ia nei mantrios kalbos, nei sud ting gyvenimi k pasirinkim , bet rasit tyriausi nuo [...]


    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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