Sarah Leis Leis itibaren Concordia, Concordia, Antioquia, Kolombiya
This is a book full of magicians, princes and princesses, genies, sultans and vizirs, dervishes, and all sorts of people living in the ancient Middle East. Many of the stories are set in Bagdad, under the reign of the Caliph Haroun al-Raschid, Commander of the Faithful, but others are set in Persia, India or even China. The premise is that Scheherazade, the intelligent and beautiful daughter of the grand-vizir, requests to be married to the Sultan Schahriar of Persia, who has married and killed a wife every day since his first beloved wife "deceived him completely". She then tells a story every night and ends it on a cliffhanger, so that the Sultan is forced to postpone her execution to the next night to hear the next part of the story. Given such an exciting backdrop, why did I dislike the book? At first I could see no real reason. The stories were all fairly exciting, many perhaps rather similar, but in general filled with enough action and trickery to captivate. But I quickly realised it was the story-telling that was the problem. The stories were so badly told, with many loopholes and gaps in the story, many things left unexplained for the reader to accept, and even several typos. The story of a hunchback who was killed ends with "The Sultan asked everybody concerned in the hunchback's affair to tell him their stories. Among others was a prating barber, whose tale of one of his brothers follows." The book then jumps into the story of the barber's fifth brother. Yet how is the hunchback related to the barber? This is never explained. I read Andrew Lang's abridged version, perhaps I will read the full 1001 nights version in future in its full glory. Related by a different and hopefully better story-teller, the tales which have captured imaginations for centuries might capture mine as well.