The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca
4 journalers for this copy...
The wheeling and dealing on the black market and the necessity of appeasing the Jinns would have driven me crazy. I could possibly handle one or the other, but not both. And I would have liked to see photos, before and afters, or even just afters, to appreciate the end result that he went to such lengths to achieve. The story was interesting and well-written, but there were other stories left untold (like the wife's) which I would have probably enjoyed more.
I have read another book by this author that involved fixing up a house and at the end of this book he talks about fixing up another one (presumably the basis of the book I read next), but I don't have a strong sense of what happened to the main players from this book, like Kamal and the Countess and even the family members. I do remember again the importance of delayed meetings in out-of-the-way coffee shops in achieving the end result, and the lack of photos in that book as well.
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Edit 4/28/18: Just realized I never posted my review which I wrote offline but neglected to paste here.
This was an enjoyable read. It was fascinating to read about how much the belief in jinns can completely control people’s lives. They are a large presence in this narrative.
I’m always amazed at people who: 1) can afford to buy a house, no matter how run down, in a foreign country and 2) live with the long-term inconveniences during renovation and 3) despite some moments of discouragement, manage to stay primarily optimistic that it will all have been worth it. The author seems to have managed all the variables with good humor. I think that is the real key: an ability to see the humor in otherwise distressing situations.
It’s interesting to learn about other cultures and this book gave me a real sense of place. I did subsequently look up some of Shah’s videos online; nice to see the house and his children. But we see little of his wife, Rachana. And here I absolutely agree with 6of8: Rachana must be an extraordinary person to stay in the shadows and suffer (probably) in silence while her husband and kids are out and about. One can at least hope that perhaps she *chose* to not be a big presence in the book or videos, but I do have my doubts.
I do hope we meet again at a convention. Maybe Mainz next year?
Released for Keep Them Moving Challenge hosted by booklady331.
I could not imagine settling there in the huge rundown property and having to deal with three guardians of the property, the constant curse of the resident Jinns and their eventual exorcism as well as the unique way of doing business to get his house renovated.
I found it hard to believe only a year passed in the telling of the settling into The Caliph’s House and the house renovations. So many things happened and it seemed that so much money changed hands to create an amazing oasis right next to a shanty town and a gangster’s house.
A very entertaining and sometimes unbelievable account.
Thanks so much eponine38 (and 6of8) for sharing this book with me.
Read this whilst in Kuala Lumper, Maylaysia at a Library conference.
Although the writing is very descriptive, and sensory, I did feel very frustrated with the author as he really only focused on his feelings and experiences. I was interested in hearing about his wife’s experience, and for him to share more about what experiences his children were exposed to. If I was his wife I would be so angry with him, having to live in a construction site for so long.
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