“Named one of Time magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year, Tahir Shah’s The Caliph’s House was hailed by critics and compared to such travel classics as A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun. Now Shah takes us deeper into the real Casablanca to uncover mysteries hidden for centuries from Western eyes.
In this entertaining jewel of a book, Tahir Shah sets off across Morocco on a bold new adventure worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights. As he wends his way through the labyrinthine medinas of Fez and Marrakech, traverses the Sahara sands, and samples the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, Tahir collects a dazzling treasury of traditional wisdom stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights, which open the doors to layers of culture most visitors hardly realize exist. From master masons who labor only at night to Sufi wise men who write for soap operas, In Arabian Nights takes us on an unforgettable, offbeat, and utterly enchanted journey.” (Description from Amazon.com)
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 Amazon Description)