Title: Arabian Nights & Arabian Nights: Traditional Tales from a Thousand and One Nights, Contemporary Tales for Adults
Author: Clive Johnson
Genre: Classic Literature, Reimagined Literature, Short Stories
Magic carpets and flying horses, caverns glittering with gold, unexpected plotlines following the fortunes of heroes and villains – who can fail to be enthralled by the magic and wonder of the tales of the One Thousand and One Nights?
This most celebrated collections of tales feature shape-shifting and miraculous transportation across continents, powerful jinn who rise like smoke from simple vessels, dreams that delve into the secrets of the subconscious, and gigantic, man-carrying birds.
The backdrop for the tales moves from barren deserts to spectacular cities, from the edge of the world to the inner sanctuaries of mighty rulers. Kings and paupers, benevolent sages and devious magicians, worthy princesses and unscrupulous harlots – all play their part in teaching important truths and providing lively entertainment.
This innovative book offers retellings of a selection of tales that have captured the imaginations of countless people over many centuries. Accompanying each is a contemporary short story that reframes the messages and teachings of the original, specifically written for an adult audience.
Here are stories of betrayal and murder, exploitation and sibling rivalry, soul-searching and discovery. The modern parallel tales swap the busy alleyways of old Baghdad for the horror of Saddam’s prisons, move from following caravans sweeping across the Sahara to modern day pilgrims trekking along the Caminos of northern Spain, and lift Aladdin out of his cave to unwittingly face Triad gangsters and antiques smugglers.
Wayward Baptist ministers, adulterous accountants, and eco-warrior backpackers follow in the footsteps of the no-less colourful characters than those that feature in the original tales.
Each pair of stories is accompanied by a commentary on how they might be interpreted. The result is a gripping collection of tales that may continue to bring the mystery and magic of the Nights to life, as well as provoking fresh thought and feeling for adult readers. Prepare to be surprised, uplifted and – in the spirit of the original Arabian Nights Entertainments -enthralled.
I remember reading Aladdin and Ali Baba when I was young, imagining I had a magic carpet and could fly all over the world. Now, Clive Johnson has breathed new life into these fantastic stories with his collection of modern-day stories. From Aladdin to Scheherazade to even Sinbad the Sailor, these classical tales are paired with a modern retelling along with detailed analysis and insight.
It’s clear that Johnson is a scholar and has studied these tales. His passion for these stories, as well as the modern retellings, comes through clearly and it drew me in. Seven stories featuring everyday people dealing with astonishing circumstances.
If you loved reading about Sinbad the Sailor or Aladdin as a kid, you’ll love these retellings as an adult. A great way to escape for a few hours and a must read!
My Rating: 4 stars
Buy it now:
Barnes and Noble Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arabian-nights-arabian-nights-clive-johnson/1124459549?ean=9780993202964
Clive is an interfaith minister, having a particular interest in mysticism and mythology. He is a follower of the perennial tradition, or the belief that at their heart, all of the world’s great religions speak about the same principles for living and connecting with God.
Before training for ministry, he spent several years working in management consultancy, and latterly as a specialist in conflict management. His earlier career was in project management and IT. He has worked for clients in many parts of the world and across a wide range of industries and is a qualified coach.
He is an itinerant with no fixed home and says that he is happiest when riding a horse on the Sussex South Downs or roaming in some remote part of the world. A self-confessed beginner in most things, he nonetheless likes to try his hand at just about anything – everything from Bollywood dancing to driving Arctic lorries.
Social Media Links:
Publisher Website http://www.labyrinthepublishers.com/arabiannights.html
Reviewed by: Mrs. N