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.
About One Thousand and One Nights
Gathered and passed down over the centuries from India, Persia, and across the Arab world, the mesmerizing stories of One Thousand and One Nights tell of the real and the supernatural, love and marriage, power and punishment, wealth and poverty, and the endless trials and uncertainties of fate. They are related by the beautiful, wise, young Shahrazad, who gives herself up to murderous King Shahrayar. The king has vowed to deflower and then kill a virgin every night—but Shahrazad will not be defeated by the king’s appetites. To save herself, she cunningly spins a web of tales, leaving the king in suspense each morning, and thus prolonging her life for another day.
Acclaimed Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh has selected nineteen of these stories, retold them in modern English, and knitted them together into an utterly intoxicating collection. In al-Shaykh’s hands, Shahrazad’s tales are lush and evocative, rich with humor, and utterly captivating.
Hanan al-Shaykh, an award-winning journalist, novelist, and playwright, is the author of the short-story collections I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops and One Thousand and One Nights; the novels The Story of Zahra, Women of Sand and Myrrh, Beirut Blues,… More about Hanan al-Shaykh
People Who Read One Thousand and One Nights Also Read
Inspired by Your Browsing History
“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
“Spellbinding.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“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)