Zoe's Reviews > The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

The Caliph's House by Tahir Shah
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's review
Feb 23, 10

bookshelves: travel
Read in February, 2010

We're traveling to Morocco at the end of March, and I was recommended this book by a very helpful guide I've been talking to there.

It's a hilarious, insightful, and often poignant tale of Shah's first year renovating a house in Casablanca. Having recently moved to Europe for a year, I can relate to a lot of the frustrations and obstacles he encounters... and it being Africa, those are multiplied by about 10,000. But he negotiates them with grace and poise, and eventually adapts far better than I ever would. Luckily, the stories of his mishaps provide endless entertainment -- I actually laughed out loud quite a few times.

My only complaints (and the only reason I didn't give it five stars) were that by the end, the litany of disasters gets slightly depressing. I know that many things actually did go wrong, but after a while my eyes started to glaze over. Luckily then would enter a gang of stoned exorcists, or a car thief with a conscience, and I would soon be caught up in the story again.

Also, the ending seemed a little abrupt. After detailing their first months in minute detail, he then skims over the end of the year and suddenly ends the book. I wasn't ready to say goodbye quite that soon.

Otherwise a great read. Definitely recommend.

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