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In Arabian Nights Paperback – 12 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (12 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553818767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553818765
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tahir Shah is the author of fifteen books, many of which chronicle a wide range of outlandish journeys through Africa, Asia and the Americas. For him, there's nothing so important as deciphering the hidden underbelly of the lands through which he travels. Shunning well-trodden tourist paths, he avoids celebrated landmarks, preferring instead to position himself on a busy street corner or in a dusty café and observe life go by. Insisting that we can all be explorers, he says there's wonderment to be found wherever we are - it's just a matter of seeing the world with fresh eyes.

In the tradition of A Thousand and One Nights, Shah's first 2013 release, SCORPION SOUP, is a treasury of nested tales. One linking effortlessly into the next, the stories form a cornucopia of lore and values, the kind that has for centuries shaped the cultural landscape of the East. Amusing, poignant, and thoroughly entertaining, the collection stays with you, conjuring a magic all of its own.

Shah's 2012 novel, TIMBUCTOO, is inspired by a true life tale from two centuries ago. The story of the first Christian to venture to Timbuctoo and back - a young illiterate American sailor - it has been an obsession since Shah discovered it in the bowels of the London Library twenty years ago.

His 2011 collection entitled TRAVELS WITH MYSELF is a body of work as varied and as any, with reportage pieces as diverse as the women on America's Death Row, to the trials and tribulations of his encounter in a Pakistani torture jail.

Another recent work, IN ARABIAN NIGHTS, looks at how stories are used in cultures such as Morocco, as a matrix by which information, values and ideas are passed on from one generation to the next. That book follows on the heels of the celebrated CALIPH'S HOUSE: A Year in Casablanca, lauded as one of Time Magazine's Top 10 Books of the year.

His other works include an epic quest through Peru's cloud forest for the greatest lost city of the Incas (HOUSE OF THE TIGER KING), as well as a journey through Ethiopia in search of the source of King Solomon's gold (IN SEARCH OF KING SOLOMON'S MINES). Previous to that, Shah published an account of a journey through the Amazon on the trail of the Birdmen of the Amazon (TRAIL OF FEATHERS), as well as a book of his experiences in India, as a godman's pupil (SORCERER'S APPRENTICE).

Tahir Shah's books have appeared in thirty languages and in more than seventy editions. They are celebrated for their original viewpoint, and for combining hardship with vivid description.

He also makes documentary films, which are shown worldwide on National Geographical Television, and The History Channel. The latest, LOST TREASURE OF AFGHANISTAN, has been screened on British TV and shown worldwide. While researching the programme Shah was arrested along with his film crew and incarcerated in a Pakistani torture jail, where they spent sixteen terrifying days and nights.

His other documentaries include: HOUSE OF THE TIGER KING, SEARCH FOR THE LOST CITY OF GOLD, and THE SEARCH FOR KING SOLOMON'S MINES. And, in addition to documentaries, Shah writes for the big screen. His best known work in this genre is the award-winning Imax feature JOURNEY TO MECCA, telling the tale of the fourteenth century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta's first pilgrimage to Mecca.

Tahir Shah lives at Dar Khalifa, a sprawling mansion set squarely in the middle of a Casablanca shantytown. He's married to the graphic designer, Rachana Shah, and has two children, Ariane and Timur. His father was the Sufi writer, Idries Shah.

www.tahirshah.com
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Product Description

Review

"Inspired and funny...this beguiling book shows that there has never been a better time to value the free-thinking storytelling tradition within Islam" (INDEPENDENT)

"A refreshingly innocent and exuberant travel narrative about his quest to understand how stories work, where they come from and if they still matter" (SUNDAY TIMES)

"A refreshingly innocent and exuberent travel narrative about his quest to understand how stories work, where they come from and if they still matter" (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Book Description

A personal search for the real Morocco through its stories and storytellers by the acclaimed author of The Caliph's House.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Fassi on 21 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This tremendously well written book tells the story of the author's life in Morocco, which is used as the frame for the retelling of several great Arabian stories from Arabian Nights and other legend. Not only impossible to put down, this book also feels like a magical story book which sweeps you back in time through oriental history and fantasy.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ramsay Wood on 10 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This delightful book explores the ancient living tradition of storytelling that bridges East and West. Somehow this ancient oral skill seems to survive within contemporary Moroccan society at many more liberal levels of profoundity than we of the West can usually imagine. It is the contrast between the known and the unknown that Shah, like his father and grandfather, also both writers, so eloquently delivers to our minds. This is the work of a rare multi-culturalist, speaking to our hearts.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By blab on 23 July 2009
Format: Paperback
A most entertaining,fascinating and absorbing read - one of those books that one looks forward to climbing into bed to read.
I completely immersed myself in Casablanca and in the authors family life, and feel that I have learnt a lot too about Morocco and its beliefs and manners.
I bought The Caliphs House at the same time and read them simultaneously as I couldnt get enough of the atmosphere that Tahir Shah creates.
The characters are so well formed that you feel that you would recognise them if you bumped into them on the street.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K2 on 2 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book from Tahir Shah and I think his best book to date. It seems as if he's growning into his own shoes at last - and with such a prestigious heritage behind him he must have found it difficult to even find his own shoes! So I see him now in a new light and not just as his father's son (his father was Sayeed Idries Shah - the great Sufi writer and storyteller) but as someone struggling with his own weaknesses as we all are and being very honest in a very self-depracating way. So if anyone hasn't read anything of his before but has an interest in Self development and the link between this material world and the world of the mystical - then you will not be disappointed in this lovely, beautifully written magical book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ita on 11 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams" is the subtitle of this extraordinary book. Tahir Shah was brought up to understand that, when his father is dead, it will be his responsibility to keep alive and pass on the teaching with which he has been endowed. He knows it was not his father's intention that he should simply regurgitate what was written and told to him. What was required was much more subtle and needed his own journey of discovery, through a state he calls "Morocco." He finds energy, wisdom and guidance in dreams, Sufi teaching stories, remembrance of time spent with his father and fragments of their conversations, as well as from the people he meets in everyday life. There are obstacles, like his own ambition, to be overcome; and qualities, like a sense of selflessness, to be cultivated before the baton can be passed on.
This is a liberating book, one that promotes creativity, at a time when neuroscientists are beginning to realise the limitations of Consciousness. It is enhanced by Michael Greer's map and the detailed, but ethereal, interior illustrations of Laetitia Bermejo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angus McBean on 17 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Fascinating window into another culture. Tahir Shah is a dream of a writer - funny, wise, self-deprecating and with an acute sense of how to draw the reader along with him. This glimpse of the Eastern art of story-telling will make you want more, and his Teh Caliph's House is a god place to go next - or first.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By N on 20 April 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tahir Shah continues his sequence of high calibre books. This book is clearly underwritten by a genuine love of Morocco and is very much written from the heart. It has depths which repay frequent re-reading and certainly reinspired my own interest in teaching stories and their functions as well as evoking a desire to visit Morocco(I hasten to add not as a tourist). A tremendous book from a man who is perhaps trying to help bridge at least two worlds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. A. Cheslett on 2 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
When I recommended my partner should read this, the second of Shah's books bought on Amazon, they picked it up and found it very hard to put down. An adventure, believably fact but I don't think it falls short of slight embellishment. Different culture, language, work ethic and a way of life steeped with superstition and weird and wonderful customs made his journeys (and himself) seem a little like a modern day Indiana Jones. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this convoluted tale and can highly recommend it to everyone.
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