A House in Fez : Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco, Paperback Book

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

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, 16 pages colour photos
  • Publisher: Ebury Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780091925222



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Simply the most impressive book in Fez in years. A beautiful account that takes you into the the heart of the culture. For collectors the first edition (hardback) published by Penguin in Australia was sold out in weeks and is now a collectors' item. The Penguin edition is large, lush and beautifully produced.

Review by

Bought 21 Apr 2009 - Amazon Christmas vouchersSuzanna and her partner, Australians in Morocco for a holiday, throw all caution to the wind and decide to buy a dilapidated house in Fez and do it up. The usual trials and tribulations ensue. Clarke tries to be fair, balancing her annoyance at being used and diddled with an understanding of how she seems rich and probably foolish to the residents. They obviously care about community and history, and are pleased when their undertakings are praised by those in the know. It does seem slightly an advert for their Moroccan blog, but then this isn't pushed at the end of the book, so I'll take it as an interesting and well-done narrative of their time in Fez.