A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco
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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
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:320 pages

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

  • Sally906
    Nov 16, 2014

    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
    Oct 16, 2011

    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
    Feb 01, 2010

    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...

  • Chris
    Aug 22, 2010

    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...

  • Fay
    Dec 18, 2011

    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...

  • Maria
    Jun 01, 2012

    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...

  • Rachel
    Aug 03, 2012

    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...

  • Mindy McAdams
    Mar 27, 2016

    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
    Jun 02, 2013

    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'...

  • Lexi Kate
    May 24, 2009

    This is a wonderful book for anyone looking for background on Morocco's history as well as insight into the daily life of a foreigner in Fez. It was particularly poignant for me as after reading it I ...