A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco

A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco

When Suzanna Clarke and her husband bought a dilapidated house in the Moroccan town of Fez, their friends thought they were mad. Located in a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, the house - a traditional riad - was beautiful but in desperate need of repair. Walls were in danger of collapse, the plumbing non-existent. While neither Suzanna nor her husband spoke Arabic, and had only a smattering of French, they were determined to restore the building to its original splendour, using only traditional craftsmen and handmade materials. But they soon found that trying to do business in Fez was like being transported back several centuries in time and so began the remarkable experience that veered between frustration, hilarity and moments of pure exhilaration.

But restoring the riad was only part of their immersion in the rich and colourful life of this ancient city. A House in Fez is a journey into Moroccan culture, revealing its day-to-day rhythms, its customs and festivals; its history, Islam, and Sufi rituals; the lore of djinns and spirits; the vibrant life-filled market places and the irresistible Moroccan cuisine. And above all, into the lives of the people - warm, friendly, and hospitable.

Beautifully descriptive and infused with an extraordinary sense of place, this is a compelling account of one couple's adventures in ancient Morocco.

Title:A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780091925222
Format Type:

    A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco Reviews

  • Sally906

    Suzanna Clarke is a reporter for the Brisbane Courier and in A HOUSE IN FEZ she relates how she and her husband fell in love with a country and purchased, then renovated, a centuries old house in Fez,...

  • tea_for_two

    An pleasant enough read - travel lit lite - and as a fellow expat living in Morocco (I'm a Peace Corps Volunteer serving here) I can empathize with some of Clarke's frustrations, but like many of the ...

  • Heidi

    I wish there were more stars, 5 does not seem enough for this book. History, culture through an outsider's eyes, home restoration and the human connection that makes the world go 'round. This book wil...

  • Maria

    I decided to read this book because we were thinking about traveling to Morocco in the fall and I wanted to get excited about the trip. This book had the exact opposite effect. I'm certain it was unin...

  • Chris

    Unusually for me, I actually had to force myself to finish this book. Other reviewers have cited the author's tone as something of a turn-off. As a frequent visitor to the Middle East, I'm familiar wi...

  • Rachel

    Not impressive, as travel writing goes. Clarke is neither patient nor humorous enough to pull it off, and is rather ungraceful in dealing with unforeseen issues with buying a house and living in a for...

  • Fay

    I liked this book and part of me wants to give it another star because it is about Morocco, a country I love deeply but I at this point I just have to keep it at three starts. It was a good enough rea...

  • Rosemarie Donzanti

    I started reading this book to get a cultural glimpse of Fez prior to my trip to Morocco. I stopped reading a little past midway through as I wanted to savor and experience the culture before finishin...

  • Mindy McAdams

    I was very disappointed in this book. I recently read The Caliph's House, about restoring a traditional house in Casablanca. The problem is not that this book (about restoring a traditional house in F...

  • Robert Clancy

    I purchased this book to read before our trip to Fez, Morocco last month. However, I only got through the first 3 chapters before we arrived in Fez. There was so much to see and do in Morocco, I didn'...