Book Title: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
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A Bird’s Eye View
About the Storyteller:
The storyteller of this book is a woman with a set agenda of saving her life. Each story is well woven to provide the right kind of interest and curiosity to know its conclusion. This gave the storyteller an additional day to live.
Story in a Nutshell:
The stories are set in a combination of betrayal, adventure, blood and gory details. They are well spun with an interesting closure which makes sure that the listener’s interest is sustained for another night. The Minister’s daughter marries the Shah to prevent untimely death of young women in her country. The Shah feeling cheated out by his betraying first wife decides illogically to get married to a young bride and have her executed on the very next day.
Scheherazade is the minister’s daughter who decides to keep the Shah from killing further young women due to a unfair conclusion that all women are unfaithful. The tales to pass the night becomes so interesting, that the Shah is willing to allow Scheherazade to live another night to complete the story. She spins the tales in such a way that she gets extra nights to live finish them. Until eventually, the Shah understands his folly in his assumption that all women are unfaithful and conniving personalities.
My Likes and Dislikes
The part that I really liked was the times, when the Genie used to appear in the story. Of course, the initial stories were really very dark. But later on there are slight changes in the stories told because it was becoming a little light-hearted and more humane. I could inference the fact, that the Shah’s view on women changes with each consecutive stories. This speaks for the storytelling capacity of Scheherazade. She spins the tale is such a way that it confirms the belief system of the Shah. With each turn in the listener’s mood the stories also change course.
One thing that I disliked about the stories were the presence of really dark details. The fact that the characters and setting where in and around the Middle East. The settings were not as clear as the characters motives for me. But within the limits of the storyteller’s intelligence in expanding the settings to outside world was achieved by resorting to limited setting description. Meaning to say that women were limited to their female quarters and Scheherazade was well read so she could keep her knowledge listener engaged with the stories.
This book would be an excellent read for grown up readers who are fascinated by well spun creative stories. The more edited and abridged version of the story is acceptable for young readers. The stories are well told to the specific listener’s need. The magic of Arabian night settings are exceptional given the limitation in the exposure of the storyteller to the outside world