A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco, by Suzanna Clarke
The Medina (Old City) of Fez is one of the best-preserved medieval walled cities in the world. Wandering there here is like fighting your way through a maze of alleyways, Arab-style homes, beautiful mosaic work, and really ancient sewer systems. Perhaps that’s what inspired Suzanna Clarke and her husband to buy an old, run-down riad in Fez with the mission of restoring it to its former glory. This book chronicles the restoration, but it’s also a window into Moroccan life and culture.
The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles
A popular read, The Sheltering Sky is a classic psychological thriller. It follows the lives of three American travelers roaming through the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II. It’s a commentary on how Americans perceive a foreign culture, and ultimately how this incomprehension destroys them.
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca, by Tahir Shah
Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Shah decides to buy a house in Casablanca. He moves his family from England in hopes of breaking out from the monotony of life in London as well as exposing his children to a more carefree childhood. I randomly picked this up in a bookstore and couldn’t put it down. Shah is an engrossing writer and I was glued to every word. While dealing with corruption, the local bureaucracy, thieves, gangsters, jinns causing havoc, and the hassle that seems to come with even the most simple interactions, Shah weaves a story that is simply one of the best I’ve read all year. It’s beautifully written and endlessly enthralling. You must go buy this book!