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Tales from 1,001 Nights

First off, wow. These stories pulled me in and didn't let go. Sadly, I didn't get the full edition of The Thousand and One Nights (it would probably take me too long), simply the edition that has "the finest and most famous of the 1,001 Nights" taken from "the most ambitious and thorough translation into English of the Arabian Nights." The tales that make up the collection (which are representative of the full novel) are some of the most powerful stories in fiction's history, inspiring writers from the likes of Dickens to Joyce to Rushdie. The frame story of the tales is that Shahrazad has married King Shahryar, who has vowed that he will execute a new bride everyday. For 1,001 nights, she tells her husband a story every night, stopping at dawn with a cliffhanger, forcing the King to keep her alive for another day. A few years back, I received 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, and one of the entries details The Thousand and One Nights. The review of the book is extremely well written:
...the storytelling that Shahrazad invents, in order to stay alive, is a kind of storytelling that is not able to end, that never reaches a climax. Rather, the stories are inhabited by a kind of insatiable desire, an open unfishedness that keeps us reading and panting, eager for more, just as King Shahryar listens and pants...[the tales'] exotic, charged texture, derives from this desirousness, this endless trembling on the point both of climax, and of death.
In my edition, many series of nights were compiled. I'm actually writing this review before finishing all the stories (I only have like three left)- they're all so intricate and detailed that I feel obligated to spend as much time as possible devouring them. For the rest of the summer, as I work on my reading list, I will finish up these tales. So far, I've read most of them; including the frame story at the beginning, some lesser-known ones ("The Fisherman and the 'Ifrit" and "The Porter and the Three Ladies")as well as ones that have permeated popular culture today ("The Story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Killed by a Slave Girl," "Sinbad the Sailor," and "The Story of Aladdin, or the Magic Lamp"). They were all resoundingly unique, and some even fall under the fairy tale category, as Robert Irwin (British historian & novelist) writes in the introduction:
"A fairytale...is but a story that relies on the fantastic to induce wonder...[yet] there are also plenty of stories in which the fantastic and the supernatural do not feature - stories about cunning adulterers, learned slave girls, pious hermits, master criminals, benevolent or despotic rulers and so on." There is also insertion of poetry into the stories, with the characters in the tales quoting famous Arab poets to express their emotion, such as the porter who proclaims his trustworthiness by declaring:
Only the trustworthy can keep a secret,
And it is with the good that secrets are concealed.
With me they are kept locked inside a room
Whose keys are lost and whose door has been sealed.
My favorite story was Ali Baba; I had heard of the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was one I had heard of, but I had no idea what it was about. It is actually the story of a brilliant slave girl who saves her master (Ali Baba) from death at the hand of forty thieves (whose lair he accidentally stumbled upon). Stories like this one are why I loved this novel/collection of stories so much, and I highly encourage everyone to read it. Rating: ★★★★★

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The House of Mirth / The Age of Innocence