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Cinnamon City by Miranda Innes
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Cinnamon City (edition 2005)

by Miranda Innes (Author)

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503384,932 (3.55)12
Want to escape to a place where the sun always shines? Where passionate music, magic potions and the drama of Africa are cooled by the genius of Arabic culture? Miranda Innes and her partner Dan Pearce were lured into buying a beautiful long-neglected riad in the heart of the magical pink-walled city of Marrakech. Only after they'd begun their restoration work did they find that nothing in this place of smoke and mirrors was quite what it seemed.With her talent for lyrical and evocative descriptions of swirling colours, flavours and aromas, Miranda Innes takes you beyond the tourist track, behind the bolted doors and deep inside the romance that is Marrakech.… (more)
Member:MyOwnWorld
Title:Cinnamon City
Authors:Miranda Innes (Author)
Info:Black Swan (2005), Edition: New Ed, 368 pages
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Cinnamon City by Miranda Innes

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I picked this up while I was still at university, never got around to reading it, and was pretty close to pulling the Pearl Rule on it this time. I'm very glad I persevered (well, started it again from the beginning THEN persevered) because it actually turned out to be rather delicious.

It's essentially a typical 'couple make completely out-of-the-blue impulse purchase of house in foreign country' travel writing book. The difference is that while most books in this genre seem to be about olive groves in Italy, villas in Spain or vineyards in France, Miranda and Dan had already moved to Spain from England - this book is about their purchase of a shabby old riad in Marrakech.

The book takes us from their first visit to Marrakech with their friend Maggie, through the trials and tribulations of renovating the house, right up to the moment when they realise it finally feels like home, a palace to be proud of, ready to open to the world. Innes is a mistress of exotic magic, conjuring heavenly images of spices and snake charmers, bustling streets and belly dancers. At the same time her British sensibilities allow her to bring to life the exuberant characters who transformed the riad - and their lives - amid the pink stone and crying muezzins of Morocco.

It is amusing and down to earth, yet also descriptive and deeply evocative of a different world, a different culture, a different way of viewing life and its triumphs and tribulations. The one thing I would have liked is a few photos. There are a few of Dan's line drawings scattered through the book, but it would have been nice to see how the house had progressed. That said, given that the riad is lettable accommodation it wasn't too difficult to locate it online for a nosy at it in all its finished glory. Recommended for a bit of scrumptious escapism that might just leave you wanting to follow in their footsteps... ( )
  elliepotten | Nov 26, 2009 |
Bought 21 Nov - charity shop

Read out of order because I have BookCrossing plans for this one.

Another tale of falling in love with and buying a house in Marrakech (at first I thought I'd read this already but that was another one a few months back!). Innes is an interiors writer and journalist and this shows in the confident and atmospheric descriptions of the house and Marrackech itself; but she also shows the emotions, good and bad, and the process of buying a wreck and trying to turn it into a palace. Delightful line drawings by her partner, Dan, although I'd have liked a plan of the place at some point in the book.

Nothing new, but a very good read. ( )
  LyzzyBee | Nov 26, 2009 |
I acn recommend the book for the author's terrific writing style. However, I was slightly disappointed that the focus seemed to be less on Moroccan cultural experiences, than on Innes' own personal life during the period she was purchasing/re-habbing property there. ( )
  Seajack | Feb 12, 2007 |
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Want to escape to a place where the sun always shines? Where passionate music, magic potions and the drama of Africa are cooled by the genius of Arabic culture? Miranda Innes and her partner Dan Pearce were lured into buying a beautiful long-neglected riad in the heart of the magical pink-walled city of Marrakech. Only after they'd begun their restoration work did they find that nothing in this place of smoke and mirrors was quite what it seemed.With her talent for lyrical and evocative descriptions of swirling colours, flavours and aromas, Miranda Innes takes you beyond the tourist track, behind the bolted doors and deep inside the romance that is Marrakech.

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