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Not quite 1001 Nights, more like 101 Nights!
on 2 August 2015
The plus point is that this version is in contemporary English, and has been truncated in order to make a more riveting read. The stories are addictive and magical, some of them surprisingly steamy (with some inconsistencies in approach - the narration is some stories is unnecessarily explicit and vulgar and in others, in trying to maintain a presentable narration uses metaphors, with the overall effect being quite contrived), and transports the reader into another dimension and time. This makes the book quite an easy read for those with short attention spans.
However, there are some major flaws. Many tales have been omitted, including the most iconic of the 1001 tales, Sinbad the Sailor and Aladdin. The omissions are baffling and perhaps the cover or book description should have more honestly stated that it only contains a very small selection of the original tales. Also, the writer has shortened many of the individual stories, sometimes ending them less than halfway through. I understand that the author is practicing her artistic license, and has manged to do so without interrupting the flow of the story. However, the shortened or halfway through endings can be quite off-putting, especially when the reader knows that there is another 60-70% of the story to go.
This version also falls short of the translation by Richard Burton - while his can be tedious to plough through because of the antiquated language, his descriptions are rich, the translation is full with metaphors and descriptions about the cultural and religious norms at the time, and most of the stories are set out completely. If one wanted to understand the true essence of the original 1001 Arabian Nights, I suggest to refer to his translation instead. In a perfect world, if someone could update his version to contemporary language, with a sprinkling of Al Shaykhs compelling way of writing, we would have the perfect combination.
Had the author set out a more comprehensive version of the 1001 Nights, I would have given it a higher rating.