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The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca (2006)
by Tahir Shah
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553383108, Paperback)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 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.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:51 -0400)
"When Tahir Shah decided to follow his dream of buying and restoring a vast crumbling ruin of a palace in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, he soon learned that he and his family had bought a great deal more than they'd bargained for. For one thing, Dar Khalifa, or the Caliph's House, came equipped with three guardians inherited from the previous owner. But that wasn't all. In Morocco, an empty house attracts jinns - invisible, often mischievous, sometimes malign spirits - and Dark Khalifa seemed to have attracted more than its fair share."."In The Caliph's House, Shah tells the story of his family's first year in Casablanca, of their tumultuous time learning Moroccan ways, renovating the house, and exorcizing its jinns. Shah's search for the craftsmen, artisans and array of other people and things needed to put the house in order leads him out into this exotic, mysterious kingdom, to Tangier, Fez, Marrakech, the High Atlas mountains and the Sahara. It also sends him on another journey - in the footsteps of a grandfather he never really knew."--BOOK JACKET.
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