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4.6 out of 5 stars27
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2014
After some gruelling book club reads, this was refreshing; nothing dark, no thick plot, no sex, violence or murder. It did what it said on the packet and delivered a recount of a couple's experience of buying and renovating a house in Fez. Having lived in the Middle East for the past 10 years, there were times when I was irritated by the naivity of Clarke and her comparisons of Morocco with Europe or New Zealand. Yes, they certainly do do things differently there! A pleasant enough read that will not make you want to buy a house in Fez.
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on 29 November 2015
Such interesting observations, the culture, the history. I want to know what happened in the following years. How did they settle into the life without the drive to finish the project? Was it enough just to be there?
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on 6 January 2015
Well written sharing all of the trials and tribulations during the house restoration. Also showing the understanding you need of the Morrocan way of working and culture. The question is "would you do it again?"
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on 2 July 2012
I have read books about house restoration in france and, as I was going to marrakesh for a couple of weeks, thought I,d buy the kindle version of this book for some light reading...I found the book easy to read and get into and, being in morrocco, could relate to a lot of it .. I even learnt a little about morroccan architecture which has inspired me to do some more research.. being kindle, the pictures from the book were in black and white but still gave an even better understanding of what was acheived by the author. very enjoyable.
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on 7 May 2013
If you're off on holiday to Morocco or aspire to owning your own Riad then this is the book for you. It gives you a glimpse into the fascinating culture, traditions and beliefs of the Moroccan people as well as the difficulties involved for 'foreigners' wanting to pursue such a challenging dream.
Hats off to Suzanna & Sandy and I for one look forward to their sequel.
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on 21 August 2008
This is an excellent read for anyone who is interested in Morocco.This book is about two foreigners who decide to buy an old house in the medina in Fez and bring it back to its former glory. The author uses her knowledge of Moroccan culture and history as she writes. She is honest but not condesending. She writes about the people she meets along the way. I read it before I went back to Morocco and it made me very keen to go back. I would love to read more from this author.
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on 21 July 2009
Bought 21 Apr 2009 - Amazon Christmas vouchers

Suzanna 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.
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on 25 December 2015
Before this book I read another book The Caliph's House, which is also written by a westerner who moved to Morocco and took on a house renovation. That was a very exaggerating (I found many elaborations highly doubtful) but fun and humorous read. To get my knowledge about Morocco balanced, I wanted to read another writer's work, and chose this one. In contrast to The Caliph's House, words in A House in Fez appeared to be much more realistic and trust-worthy, however Clarke put too much focus on how exactly her house is renovated, instead of the Moroccan people's culture, behavior, belief, etc. Half way through the book I got tired and dropped the reading.

In summary, for fun one should read The Caliph's House; it's not only humorous but also contains a lot of the author's interaction with the locals, reflecting the culture of the people.For pragmatism one should choose A House in Fez, especially if one is preparing to trap himself there and renovate a house as well. There's a great deal of knowledge you would need to know about house renovation in this book.
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on 22 August 2010
I bought this book having just taken my visit visit to Marrakech - never having been to Morocco before. It was such a well written account of life in the Medina. Having recently been to the Medina in Marrakech I totally understood the atmosphere that Suzanna describes in this account of her and her husband's purchase and restoration of their Dar. The characters are well described, to the point where I could picture them in my mind's eye - and knowing others who have bought property in Morocco, I know that the difficulties with the authorities are brilliantly described. By the end of the book, I felt so pleased for Suzanna and her husband that they had so beautifully restored their house with pride and consideration, not only to Fez, but to their neighbours. My only comment would be that I would like to have seen the 'before' and 'during' pictures closer to the start, and the 'finished' pictures at the end. Congratulations to them for their tremendous achievement.
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on 12 June 2014
Quite a negative read and not always factually accurate in terms of cultural beliefs. Very descriptive, a good - but not always fair - insight into one woman's personal experience of life in Fez.
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