Book Beat’s Reading Group Selection for August is Arabian Nights & Days by Nobel Prize winner Naguid Mahfouz. The Reading Group will meet on Wednesday, August 27 at 7pm in the Goldfish Teahouse (117 W 4th St #101, Royal Oak, MI 48067). Books are discounted 15% at Book Beat. All are welcome!
First published in Arabic in 1979,Arabian Nights & Daysis a sequel/companion piece to One Thousand and One Nights, telling 17 interlinked tales featuring many of the same characters who appeared in the original work. Beginning on the day following the Thousand and One Nights, the vizier Dandan learns that his daughter, Shahrzad, has succeeded in saving her life by enthralling the sultan with wondrous tales. But Shahrzad is miserable and distrusts her husband, who, she suspects, is still capable of bloody doings. All is not well outside the palace either, where a medieval Islamic city teems with anxious souls. Many of them, like the devout Skeikh Abdullah al-Balkhi, strive to attain a high spiritual station, but few succeed, especially when genies and angels intervene, as they do often in this series of linked intrigues and adventures.
“With his usual psychological acuity and a keen sense of social and political realities, Mahfouz delivers a revised classic that skewers hypocrisy, greed and corruption, especially of those in power.”- Publisher’s Weekly
“…Mahfouz’s greater faith in old-fashioned narrative allows him to weave modernist psychology and legendary rhetoric, making his Arabian Nights both disturbing and spellbinding.”- Kirkus Reviews
Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature- the only Arab writer to have won the award. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature to explore themes of existentialism. He published 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays over a 70-year career.