➷ A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco Free ➭ Author Suzanna Clarke – 1sm.info

A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco 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 other commenters, I was struck by how little interaction Clarke really had with Morocco.Her primary social group was almost entirely made up of foreigners, and the only Moroccans she regularly interacted with were her employees, or the two women she formed fraught and unequal relationships with Whi 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 other commenters, I was struck by how little interaction Clarke really had with Morocco.Her primary social group was almost entirely made up of foreigners, and the only Moroccans she regularly interacted with were her employees, or the two women she formed fraught and unequal relationships with While Clarke was enad with Morocco and was generally positive about Moroccan culture, she made no effort to learn the language, meaning she could only interact with Moroccans who spoke English or French meaning she only could speak with Moroccans who were educated enough to speak three orlanguages She does mentions a few Arabic words, but some of them are translated incorrectly and almost all of them are spelled that makes me think she s mispronouncing them badly She talks about her worries about being part of a colonizing force, but also chose to study French, the language of the colonists.I was surprised by some of the topics she didn t mention, or glossed over, especially Islam, which is such a fundamental and integral part of Moroccan life that it s impossible to really understand Morocco or Moroccans without taking it into account.The one bright spot of the book was when she took a trip to Sefrou, the town I m currently living in, and visited the suq that s right next to my house I don t think I ve ever had a book intersect with my real life quite that dramatically A House in Fez is ultimately a pleasant enough read about a restoration project and expat life in Morocco, but not a real look at Moroccan culture 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 read but not as great as other books out there that are similar not that you shouldn t read this to getof a glimpse of moving to Morocco I was deeply disappointed with the fact that Clarke, who was moving from Australia to Morocco part time had very little contact with Moroccans Unfortunately 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 read but not as great as other books out there that are similar not that you shouldn t read this to getof a glimpse of moving to Morocco I was deeply disappointed with the fact that Clarke, who was moving from Australia to Morocco part time had very little contact with Moroccans Unfortunately, this is something quite a lot of expatriates seem to to, or get stuck in I ve heard some people say it s because western and eastern cultures are so different but I don t think it s so much that as I saw the same thing happen when I studied in France, many, many other students only stuck with other Americans.I m not so taken aback by her choice to study French It probably is much easier of a start for a lot of westerners and it does open up a lot of doors though not always the same ones that would be opened if somebody learned Darija the Moroccan Arabic dialect There did seem to be no mention of wishing to pick upDarija in the future, no mention of taking classes for it To each their own but I feel this is terribly sad, and affects her experience in Morocco a great deal and that in turn affects this book, her story Still a good read and should be placed on any I m moving to Morocco book list I wish there werestars, 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 will fuel my day dreams for years to come. 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 unintentional, but the author made Morocco sound really unappealing She obviously enjoys living there, but completely failed at conveying why she does I also found the author to be very whiny The book was mostly comprised of complaints about how difficult it was to renovate this house I know that li 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 unintentional, but the author made Morocco sound really unappealing She obviously enjoys living there, but completely failed at conveying why she does I also found the author to be very whiny The book was mostly comprised of complaints about how difficult it was to renovate this house I know that living in a construction zone can be challenging, but she wasn t doing it herself She had a team of 18 workers doing the actual work Do not read this book if you are considering a trip to Morocco 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 foreign country Understandable, but makes for a boring annoying book. 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 with the frustrations that Ms Clarke expresses Why is everything so needlessly complex but there was a cross between self congratulation for dealing with Moroccan bureaucracy and the informal economy read tips and bribes coupled with a constant need to remind us that she basically didn t tru 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 with the frustrations that Ms Clarke expresses Why is everything so needlessly complex but there was a cross between self congratulation for dealing with Moroccan bureaucracy and the informal economy read tips and bribes coupled with a constant need to remind us that she basically didn t trust anyone she met in Morocco that really started to grate on me Her constant friends throughout the book are all western or westernized Moroccans.While I can t say that I would have written a different book in her shoes the overall approach was a little too light and fluffy for my tastes By the end of if, I still just didn t feel like we d gotten anywhere What did she learn from this experience I m still not sure.Anyone looking for a similar story with some meat on its bones would do well to track down a copy of Elizabeth Warnock Fernea s A Street in Marrakech instead 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 finishing I loved the real life adventures Suzanna and her husband Sandy encountered while shopping for and renovating their riad in Fez They encounter a lively cast of characters who have you laughing out loud and shaking your head She describes a warm welcoming people who are so wonderful to be around 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 finishing I loved the real life adventures Suzanna and her husband Sandy encountered while shopping for and renovating their riad in Fez They encounter a lively cast of characters who have you laughing out loud and shaking your head She describes a warm welcoming people who are so wonderful to be around yet can be so frustrating Kinda like familyYou gain a respect for the spirit and historical aspect of the Medina My visit there will certainly be one of my greatest memories Im the Fez Medina there are fourteen thousand buildings, whereas Marrakesh has only four thousand, which may mean Fez has a greater degree of resilience Here we have a chance, unique in the world, to live as they did in the fourteenth century A House in Fez Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco by Suzanna Clarke Scribd 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 ExhilarationBut 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 HospitableBeautifully Descriptive And Infused With An Extraordinary Sense Of Place, This Is A Compelling Account Of One Couple S Adventures In Ancient Morocco 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 Fez or F s is too similar to the other, but rather that it is so inferior in style and flavor The most annoying thing for me was that that author continually talks about how much each thing costs Prices, amounts of dirhams, and how every Moroccan is always cheating the Australian author and her 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 Fez or F s is too similar to the other, but rather that it is so inferior in style and flavor The most annoying thing for me was that that author continually talks about how much each thing costs Prices, amounts of dirhams, and how every Moroccan is always cheating the Australian author and her husband if you deleted all these from the book, it would lose half its pages In contrast, the author of the other book was also cheated and also overpaid for things, and sometimes mentioned prices, but his story never seemed like an accounts ledger This one very nearly did.The worse thing, stylistically, is too much telling and not enough showing the fatal downfall of storytelling We are constantly being told that someone is kind or gentle or this or that, but we rarely get to see anyone being themselves This too is a great contrast to the other book I couldn t help feeling like these two Australians really were the new colonizers of Morocco, with most of their contacts and dinner party companions being other foreigners who have come to live, part time, in Fez, buying up houses in the car free Medina and restoring them Most of their interactions with Moroccan people are as employers, hiring cleaners and plumbers and plasterers to work on their houses, or dealing with clerks and officials in the frustrating quest to get the required building permits I did learn some interesting things about the history of Morocco and its architecture, although the author inserts these interludes clumsily among the tedious accounts about how much money she had to pay this person and that person again and again 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 t have one minute to pick up this account of an Australian couple who bought a riad in the heart of Fez in the ancient Medina We also stayed at a first class, great old riad called Ryad Mabrouka in the Medina We also met a British couple from London the same area where my daughter lives, Chiswic 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 t have one minute to pick up this account of an Australian couple who bought a riad in the heart of Fez in the ancient Medina We also stayed at a first class, great old riad called Ryad Mabrouka in the Medina We also met a British couple from London the same area where my daughter lives, Chiswick who also own a riad in Fez and are rehab ing it For the past 4 years After spending a week in Fez, I pick up Clarke s book and it was tremendouslyenjoyable I felt like I was right back in the alleys and souks of the Medina Like our trip to Morocco, this book tells you not only a lot about what it s like to live in an exotic, foreign country, but it also put s into perspective your own home life in America What we take for granted, how we live, and the things that are better and not so good of our own American lifestyle Who would have thought that free toilet paper in rest rooms was such a luxury In Morocco, it s non existent We also have read the author s husband s blog A View from Fez and find it educational if you re planning a trip to this ancient city


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