Passed down over centuries from India, Persia, and across the Arab world, the mesmerizing stories of One Thousand and One Nights are related by the beautiful, young Shahrazad as she attempts to delay her execution. Retold in modern English by the acclaimed Lebanese author Hanan al-Shaykh, here are stories of the real and the supernatural, love and marriage, power and punishment, wealth and poverty, and the endless trials and uncertainties of fate. Bringing together nineteen classic tales, in these pages al-Shaykh weaves an utterly intoxicating collection, rich with humor, violence, and romance.
“Magical. . . . Bursting with jinnis and mischief.” —Donna Tartt, The Times (London)
“[al-Shaykh] brings the modern fiction writer’s gift for psychological complexity to the rich-but-streamlined quality of the originals. . . . Read through knowing you’re getting the very best of The Arabian Nights.” —The Atlantic
“al-Shaykh performs a great service in retelling [the Arabian Nights]. . . . [She] has shifted the camera angles, as it were, and trained the spotlight on the characters. . . . We get more of the essence of these stories, their anarchic humor and cheerful sadism.” —NPR
“A treat and a trap for story lovers. Like a contemporary Shahrazad, al-Shaykh has rendered 19 little masterpieces into a wondrously warm, ribald and hilarious concoction.” —Hanif Kureishi, The Guardian (London)
“Spellbinding.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
Hanan al-Shaykh, an award-winning journalist, novelist, and playwright, is the author of the short story collection I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops; the novels The Story of Zahra, Women of Sand and Myrrh, Beirut Blues, and Only in London; and a memoir about her mother, The Locust and the Bird. She was raised in Beirut, educated in Cairo, and lives in London.