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Arabian Nights and Days: A Novel Paperback – September 15, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
--Starr E. Smith, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Seized by a pang of guilt that pricked his heart, Sultan Shahriyar repented of his atrocious massacre of virgins and other pious, god-fearing people. Shahrzad, daughter of vizier Dandan, sacrificed her happiness and remained with the sultan in order to stem the torrent of blood.
Merchant Sanaan al-Gamali had a nightmare in which a genie would otherwise punish him if he refused to kill the governor, who had brought about the genie through black magic and made the genie accomplish purposes not approved by conscience. In a state of delirium and crazed fantasies, Sanaan raped and murdered a girl. When Gamali finally summoned his courage, unsheathed the dagger, aimed at the governor's heart and stabbed with a strength drawn from determination and despair, the genie abandoned Gamali to his own fate.
Gamasa al-Bulti, the chief of police, was another man whom the genie chose to be the saving of the quarter from corruption. Gamasa was despondent at the ruin of Gamali's family, which now lived in ignominy. But the chief remained aloof to Gamali's widow for fear of ruining his own position and his standing with the sultan, who regarded the blow directed against his official as being aimed against him personally. The genie confronted Gamasa as one despicable person feeding off ignominy for he protected the elite (who was just as corrupted) by prosecuting the respectable people.Read more ›
1988 Nobel Prize for literature winner takes the times and ages-old story and gives us a
re-telling, carving his initials on some of those characters (and stories) of a thousand
and one nights: Sinbad, Aladdin, Scheherazade, etc.
It is a tale told by a learned Egyptian who's display of the original themes take on a
more modern glimmer. Granted, Mahfouz keeps the setting in the middle ages, but he
takes those themes and re-iterates their timeliness.
Once again, here are the genies and humans facing (sometimes defying) love, hatred,
greed, lust, and certainly the social injustices of any corrupt system. Throughout the
narrative, good is constantly squaring off against evil. That there's nothing new under
the sun doesn't phase Mahfouz, however, as he takes some seventeen tales and
skillfully weaves them into his own magical spell.
Mahfouz is compared to Proust, Camus, Salinger, and an introspective Hemingway,
and justifiably so. Hailed as the "widest-read Arab writer currently published in the
U.S.," Mahfouz has certainly wielded his own influence among international readers
since the Prize; alas, it seems it took the impact of this award for his books to achieve
their circulation, but that doesn't diminish his themes, his philosophies, his impact on
both socially significant issues and modern literature. That said, however, the author
(already some 30 novels to his credit), strikes adamantly at issues that transcend into
modern, more socially-significant items of today and thus "Arabian Nights and Days"
is more than just a fairy tale. It's a good read. (...)
But on another level, Mahfouz indirectly poses a more philosophical query: to what extent am I responsible for my actions, and if I err, to what extent can I blame circumstances, outside interference, and my inherent weakness as a human being? And if a very wicked person repents of his evil deeds, how much forgiveness is he entitled to in this world?
I recommend the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this to be able to tutor someone who had to read this for a class. It's pretty enjoyable. It's a lot like 1001 Nights, but in a contemporary form - not helpful I know. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bruno Vetter
Buyer beware: The point size of the Anchor Books edition is unacceptably small. It is roughly the size of the nutritional info on the side of a cereal box.Published 17 months ago by Stephen Poole
I read this book after having read his Children of the Alley which was great.I look for some insight in the author's Egyptian culture and I feel his work does offer that. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Charles Krieg
I was completely satisfied with my purchase. The book came in a timely fashion. I will recommend this site to friends that may need the same book.Published on February 9, 2014 by paulpeters