23 March, 2018


Title: The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca
Author: Tahir Shah
Series: -
Genres: Travel, Memoir, Nonfiction
Publisher:  Bantam
Release: December 26th, 2006
Source: Paperback
Pages: 368

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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.

EXPECTATIONS: This book was recommended my a co-worker. We were talking about India, and how much I would love to go there, and she asked me if I ever visited Morocco. I said no, and she gave me this book and told me to go and read it. So my wonderful roommate got it for me for my birthday and I read it with a passion!

THE WORLD: It's our world. No fantasy, no nothing. The year is 2004, when our main character (the author) Tahir comes to Casablanca with his entire family and settle down in Morocco in a beautiful mansion called Caliph's House. You guys, the book had this weird energy around it I am not kidding you! The way the city, the people, the culture, the weather was described I felt like I was there. Like I was breathing the heat and seeing the colors and those beautiful blue marble stone ornaments all around. The book did a wonderful job putting the reader in the middle of Casablanca and guiding him or her through the streets, every little turn together with the narrator.

CHARACTERS: The characters in this book, mind you, are real living people. Tahir, the narrator tells us a story of how he took his family and they moved from London to Casablanca. So we get to meet him, his wife, two kids, the servants they inherit when they buy the house and many many other wonderfully interesting people as they settle down. 

I mean it's a little weird for me to discuss the characters, them being living people and all, but I have to say that they felt so real, well because they are, but it just felt so...familiar. The struggles, the worries, the anxiety, the need to just sit and be still and relax. The love for your family, the peace that overflows you. It was good guys!

The only thing I will say, and Mr. Tahir, if you ever see this review,or anyone else who plan to more to a totally different country, please do research before heading to a unfamiliar destination! I truly felt the struggles when the different cultures came together and it was difficult to understand what to do. If it were me, I would have done an enormous amount of research before leaving my old life and coming to a country as Morocco. Living spontaneously is good only in movies. In real life, you need to plan, plan, and then have a back up plan for your plan.

ROMANCE: This book has nothing to with the conventional understanding of love. Maybe love for everything around you or finding the connection with your loved ones, you have and/or lost.

GOOD: I just felt good reading this book. It gave me so much wider understanding of Morocco and the cultures and the world in there. It have me a new travel destination! Also, I just loved how not pretentious this book was, it was raw, it was real, it was as if Tahir was my friend and we were sitting in his Dar Khalifa drinking that sweet tea and he told me about his life!

Thank you Tahir, thank you for making me believe in Jinns!

BAD: I would have liked to read more about how the wife Rachana and their little kids were adapting to the culture and Morocco itself.

OVERALL: Read it guys! You will not be sorry! It's a very good book! It gives you all the good warm, fuzzy feelings! Read it, it will make you believe in Jinns!

What do you think about THE CALIPH's HOUSE: A YEAR IN CASABLANCA?



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