Marrakech - Novelist explorer and entrepeneur Tahir Shah, who lives in Casablanca at the Caliph’s House which he renovated and wrote about is publishing his latest novel Paris Syndrome which was released as an ebook and on line on 16 June this year.
Marrakech – Novelist explorer and entrepeneur Tahir Shah, who lives in Casablanca at the Caliph’s House which he renovated and wrote about is publishing his latest novel Paris Syndrome which was released as an ebook and on line on 16 June this year.
On her 5th birthday Miki Suziki is told a tale about Paris by her aged grandfather who visited it in his youth. His story, related in stages, fires Miki’s imagination over a twenty year period. She becomes a door to door sales girl for a not very reputable cosmetics company and dreams of flying to Paris, “where all women were beautiful and dressed in the finest gowns and the men had the looks of famous film stars.” She becomes obsessed with Paris and French culture over a twenty year period where she grinds away selling beauty products from door to door and returns each night to her tiny frozen apartment. Then her cosmetic company runs a competition which she wins by an ingenious strategy and the prize is a ticket to Paris. Her desire to see the city is mixed with her love for her old and dying grandfather who wants a Louis Vuitton leather coin pouch which he saw in his youth.
Tahir Shah brilliantly evokes the power and urgency of human desire and the way we create an ideal existence in a foreign land so much more preferable to our ordinary dull daily existence where we try to escape the daily grind to earn a living. It is an attempt to escape which Tahir Shah brilliantly evokes in his novel The Caliphs House where he escapes with his family from the dullness and restrictions of life in London for the dream and adventure of restoring the Caliph’s House in Casablanca.
When Miki arrives in Paris, her dream and desires start to run away with her. She ends up in a clinic for sufferers of the strange condition called Paris Syndrome which is said to affect dozens of Japanese tourists each year. Tahir Shah piles on the pressure with a whirl of subplots featuring vigilantes, trade wars, bounty hunters and a tale of true love. This is a brilliant exposé of what happens when we confront our illusions which have governed our minds as we search for an escape from everyday reality which hems us in. Paris is of course, a beautiful and fascinating city which is there to be enjoyed and celebrated, Just so long as we don’t get too carried away.
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