Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A House in Fez by Suzanna Clarke

When Suzanna Clarke and her husband Sandy McCutcheon bought a dilapidated house in the Fez Medina, their friends in Australia thought they were mad. Located in a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, the house – an Arab-style riad – was beautiful but in desperate need of repair. Walls were in danger of collapse, the plumbing non-existent. While neither Suzanna nor Sandy spoke Arabic and had only a smattering of French, they were determined to restore the house to its original splendour, using traditional craftsmen and handmade materials. So began a remarkable experience that veered between frustration, hilarity and moments of pure exhilaration.

But restoring the house 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 – into it's day-to-day rhythms, its customs and festivals. Into its history, Islam, and Sufi rituals. Into the lore of djinns and spirits. And above all, into the lives of all of the people – warm, friendly, hospitable to a fault.

A gorgeous book to hold and read. I am torn between jealousy and a feeling of thank goodness that's not my renovation!
Rating - I give this 5/5 GREAT!!

Get this from the library

Reviewed by Sarah @ Hamilton library

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