One thousand and one nights book review
Retelling One Thousand and One Nights | Culture | The GuardianThank you! Elegant, pointed retelling of the classic of medieval Arabian literature by Lebanese novelist and journalist al-Shaykh The Locust and the Bird , , etc. As Sir Richard Burton well knew, the tales that Scheherazade spun in order to keep from having her sultan husband chop off her head were full of erotic moments, explicit and implicit alike. My anger took control and I avenged myself by slaying both of them and hurling their bodies in a trench, like two dead cockroaches. A lovely book, and a wonderful revisiting of tales that, told once again, are meant to inspire—well, if not piety, at least more humane behavior toward our fellow adventurers.
A Thousand Nights Book Review!
One Thousand and One Nights
It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights , from the first English-language edition c. The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa. Some tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic , Persian , Indian , Greek , Jewish and Turkish  folklore and literature. A Thousand Tales , which in turn relied partly on Indian elements. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while others are self-contained. Some editions contain only a few hundred nights, while others include 1, or more. The bulk of the text is in prose , although verse is occasionally used for songs and riddles and to express heightened emotion.
The volumes were leather-bound, their title engraved in gold. I asked my friend if I might touch one, but she said that her father always locked the cabinet and kept the key in his pocket, because he said he feared that if anyone finished the stories they would drop dead. Of course I didn't know then, and neither did my friend, that the reason her father didn't want any of the women of the house to read Alf Layla wa-Layla was because of its explicit sexuality. As the years passed, my obsession with Alf Layla wa-Layla faded. I wanted desperately to escape the world it evoked.
O ne can divide theatre, broadly, into two categories: narrative and dramatic. But, although my preference is for the latter, the former has a cumulative power as proved by this two-part, six-hour version of the legendary Arabic tales. It is an extraordinary enterprise. The Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh adapted 16 stories from the original saga. Having opened in Toronto, the show now takes its place in Edinburgh. So what impact does it make? It takes time to get into.
Taboo for their sexual frankness, the stories of the Alf layla wa layla beckoned to the young Hanan Al-Shaykh like forbidden fruit. Here, as part of the project that also led to her stage version, the Lebanese-born writer braids 19 of the Nights into a magical tissue of tales.
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Taboo for their sexual frankness, the stories of the Alf layla wa layla beckoned to the young Hanan Al-Shaykh like forbidden fruit. Here, as part of the project that also led to her stage version, the Lebanese-born writer braids 19 of the Nights into a magical tissue of tales. Wily, randy ladies, cunning artisans, grumpy djinns, hoodwinked sultans and smart slaves throng tellings that match the originals' candour and zest with Al-Shaykh's own feisty flavours. The Nights "opened the door of a carriage that took me back into the heart of my Arab heritage". Climb in and relish a wild, witty ride. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?