Books I Read About Morocco While In Morocco

The Caliph’s House is a memoir by the writer Tahir Shah that describes his escapades as he and his family begin to restore a crumbling Casablanca mansion. It’s humorous and an enjoyable, easy read, but also stuck me as far-fetched at times. But, maybe Shah just has a talent for landing in crazy-sounding situations.

Secret Son is a novel about a teenager raised in the slums of Casablanca, and how his life changes after meeting his very wealthy father. This book, focused on inequality and identity, was probably my favorite read of the month, and it inspired me to also read Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, a collection of connected short stories by the same author. This (also extremely good) book opens on a boat with a group of Moroccans who are attempting to reach Spain, and then traces the characters’ stories before and after the journey.

CultureShock! Morocco is a nonfiction book that attempts to give an overview of Moroccan culture, customs, and everyday life. Some of the information was useful, while other parts seemed outdated (at least compared to what we saw in the capital city of Rabat). It was interesting to see what has seemed to change (and what hasn’t), since this book was last updated in 2009.

The Spider’s House is by Paul Bowles, one of the more famous foreign writers who lived in and wrote about Morocco. The novel is set in Fez, during the uprisings in 1953 that led to the removal of the French protectorate, and flips between the perspectives of several characters, local and foreign. This book required more time and patience to read than the others, but by the middle, I was definitely hooked.


Cafe Hafa – reportedly, Paul Bowles’ favorite cafe in Tangier

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