Book review: One Thousand and One Nights, By Hanan Al-Shaykh

 

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.

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