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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survivors' tales
Only survivors live to tell their tale - the others are drowned in the anonymous sea of history. There is always a whiff of the improbable about survivors' tales, particularly when the surviving spans generations, as with some of the characters of this book. But life is "the glory of the improbable", and we should relish every chance we get to celebrate life at its most...
Published on 22 July 2010 by Agnostic500

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the final chapter -book five in the series
The night of the golden Butter fly I found was the least convincing in the series . Of course the writing in all the series has been unusual. In an attempt to help an understanding of the history of Islam some the books suceeded better than others . Lack of political context for each period is a weakness really especially this last book and could have been achieved . I...
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by Ms. Diane P. Walsh


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survivors' tales, 22 July 2010
Only survivors live to tell their tale - the others are drowned in the anonymous sea of history. There is always a whiff of the improbable about survivors' tales, particularly when the surviving spans generations, as with some of the characters of this book. But life is "the glory of the improbable", and we should relish every chance we get to celebrate life at its most bewildering.

The plot could have been lifted from Thousand and One Nights: a motley group in post-independence Lahore youth makes its way through life, some migrating early to professional success on cosmopolitan shores, others surviving in the "Fatherland" under most trying circumstances and succeeding in the end to join the lucky ones that went ahead. Like in the best of serial fairy tales, their lives cross and re-cross each other - no thread is lost: not even amnesia in distant Beijing is barrier to reunion and recovery of memory. All the baddies succumb to murder or aircraft crashes, or become international weapons dealers, thus drowning metaphorically in the special anonymity of this trade - never to be heard from again.

The character that acts as "unifier" of these many disjoined lives: Plato, the mathematician and painter who chooses to stay back in "Fatherland", survives in the works of his art and in the estimation of his friends, who just happen to have the means to establish a museum for his paintings. International recognition is thereby assured. And the gifted writer-friend sets out to establish his biography, making sure that his personality is recorded for posterity.

This is the last of Ali's "Quintet" - a series of books that takes us from Sicily under the early Normans, the Middle Crusades, the Fall of Grenada, and Istanbul before WWI, to today. It is all about the glorious life of mostly Muslim diasporas, and a celebration of religions mixing, and exchanging, in a spirit of curiosity and freedom. There is much poignancy along the way, but the tone is one of indefatigable optimism in humanity's capacity to compromise and learn from each other. Despite the occasional lapse into kitsch, this is a superb and astonishingly high quality collection, that holds up from volume to volume exceedingly well, while enriching our knowledge of Islam's many contributions to civilisation, from el-Andalus to Yunnan.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the final chapter -book five in the series, 13 Mar 2011
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Ms. Diane P. Walsh (Malvern, VICTORIA Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Night of the Golden Butterfly (Islam Quintet) (Paperback)
The night of the golden Butter fly I found was the least convincing in the series . Of course the writing in all the series has been unusual. In an attempt to help an understanding of the history of Islam some the books suceeded better than others . Lack of political context for each period is a weakness really especially this last book and could have been achieved . I quite enjoyed the series but would have liked greater depth on many levels .Isuppose they are a kind on Arabian nights which give an insight to muslinculture at various periods. Not sure -facinated with the historyof Islam I am but found them just a little shallow .
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Night of the Golden Butterfly (Islam Quintet)
Night of the Golden Butterfly (Islam Quintet) by Tariq Ali (Paperback - 18 Oct 2010)
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