Samarkand is a 1988 historical fiction novel by the French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf.
The first half of the story is set in Persia (present day Iran) and Central Asia in the 11th century, and revolves around the scientist, philosopher, and poet Omar Khayyám.
It recounts the creation of his Rubaiyat throughout the history of the Seljuk Empire, his interactions with historical figures such as Vizir Nizam al-Mulk and Hassan al-Sabbah of the ord ...more
the passionate love story of Omar Khayyam and Jahan the poet at the court of Samarkand and this nine-years love that end in the most tragic way....
before reading this novel i only thought that Omar Khayyam was only a great persian poet,and surprisingly i discovered he was philosopher and teacher,Astronomer Mathematician and ALGEBRA LEADER and agreat scientist.....
alot of historical information about Sel ...more
Part 1 is set in the Islamic world of the 11th century CE, and is based around 3 historical characters. The lead character is Omar Khayyam, known today in the west as a poet, but who in his own time was better known as an astronomer. The novel has the idea of a youthful friendship between Omar and Hassan-i-Sabbah, who later founded the sect of the Assassins. The third ...more
"Time ... has two dimensions, its length is measured by the rhythm of the sun but its depth by the rhythm of passion."
"...the qualities needed to govern are not those which are needed in order to accede to power. In ...more
The primary focus is Omar Khayyam and his book, the Rubaiyaat. Khayyam was a philosopher, poet, consultant to ...more
I did learn about the Sufi poet, sage, astronomer, mathematician, Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) of 11th century Persia and his famed Rubaiyaat, about life during the Seljuk empire before the Mongol invasion, about Nizam ul Mulk, Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the Order of the Assassins, and later about the Persian democratic struggle for a constitutional government. That is why I am giving this book two stars. I did learn something, but I also had to spend quite a bit of time ...more
“At the bottom of the Atlantic, there is a book. I am going to tell you its history. (…) Six years after the event, I am still obsessed by this object of flesh and ink, whose unworthy guardian I was“ - Benjamin Omar Lesage.
Amin Maalouf said about his work as a novelist that he tried to build positive myths. That describes Samarkand so well!
In this book, he gave Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat a long lost manuscript with Persia’s history in its marge, found by his fictional narrator Benjamin O. Lesage on ...more
Well, OK, maybe my title is stretching things a little, but not by much. This is a very original novel which risked getting out of control, but did not. Only a very skilled writer could pull things together the way Amin Maalouf has done in SAMARKAND. The title refers to the ancient Central Asian city, now in Uzbekistan, where the novel opens with Omar Khayyam, the renowned poet (also mathematician and astrologer), receiving a large blank ...more
"Omar Khayyam mourned his disciple with the same dignity, the same resignation and the same discreet agony as he had mourned other friends. ‘We were drinking the same wine, but they got drunk two or three rounds before me.’"
Among other things, this book has among its motifs - Omar Khayyam, Hassan-i Sabbah, Persian liberation efforts at the beginning of 20th century, Titanic, Mongols etc.
Have you ever detests the 'x' of algebra during your math classes, well Omar Khayyam is the source of tha ...more
As he was writing, Maalouf was likely thinking of the civil war that was ongoing in his native Lebanon. However, he chose to set his novel in Uzbekstan ...more
This my second novel by Maalouf, and I have to say that I liked The Rock of Tanios better. With Samarkand I felt like I was reading two different novels. It was divided into four books, the first two of which were a fictional life of the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam, narrated in the third person. It was fascinating, as I had no idea he was an astrologer/astronomer, philosopher, ...more
Analogous to the Omar Khayyam he writes about, Maalouf is himself a great humanist. Maalouf's philosophical views are often present in his books and expressed via his main protagonist. His mastery of the French language and the poetic slant he adds to his writings make his books not only interesting but also extremely pleasant to read. His writing flows with grace and ele ...more
But seriously, students of Islamic history, especially those modern-day Hashishin, will want to read this book, both on its own merits, as well as a decompression from all of those heady, repetitive history books. Take a break, let your mind wander around in this place for a while...
I have had to distance myself from people in order to hear the voice of my memory, to nurture a naive hope and insistent vision
I am not one of those for whom faith is simply fear of judgement
How do I pray?
I study a rose, I count the stars, I marvel at the beauty of creation and how perfectly ordered it is
We live in the age of the secret and of fear
You must have two faces
Show one to the crowd, and keep the other for your ...more
The novel is divided into two parts:
1- The story happened in the 11th century and which tells the era of Nizam Al-Mulk and the everyday life of Omar Al-Khayam(the poet).
2- The second is in 19 century where Benjamin O. Lesage (a passionate about quatrains of Omar AL Khayam) who tells us his quest f
It’s not a book, it’s a piece of literature; transcending time and space and boundaries created by nature and humans. Trying to script a story of two leads, one who is telling the story and the other whose story is being told, that spans over a distance of centuries, must not have been an easy task for Malouf. Written in peotic French, Malouf divided this small book of some 300 pages into four sections. First two dealing with the legend of Khayyam and his exploits across the Orient, last two ded ...more
It follows the story of an 11th century Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam(whom poetry is only a tiny part of his life) with two close friends, Nizam al-Mulk a vizier of the Seljuq Empire and Hassan ibn al-Sabbah, the founder of the Ismaeeli sect of the assassins. Omar is not attracted either to wealth like Nizam al-Mulk or to ascetic virtue l ...more
However, this book is proof that there is such a thing as too much history in a historical fiction novel. I love learning about history. But really, ithe real wars, treaties, assassinations, diplomats, political relationships, and so on that took place in the Seljuk Empire, and ...more
“Samarkand, the most beautiful face t ...more
Thus, I was more than interested in a book about Khayyam, one of the luminaries of his generation. And that part was great - the three main characters, the history, the politics, the vivid descriptions of life and belief. I couldn't ask more from a book about this per ...more
Synopsis: The setting is Persia across 10th-11th century and then late 19th century. The novel aims to highlight key events in Persian history, while also putting focus on the character Omar Khayyam and his influence on science and astronomy as well as his Rubaiyat poetry collection.
- The first half, focusing on Omar Khayyam era and the Assassins is absolutely brilliant, with a really vivid historical setting and atmosphere
- Good mix of storytelling and historical knowledge
And now this great story. The first two part about the creation of the book and it's incredible travels are wonderful. Not only to know what happened to the book, but also to learn about Persia dur ...more
"I despise the zeal of the devout,
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Most of Maalouf's books have a historical setting, and like Umberto Eco, Orhan Pamuk, and Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Maalouf mixes fascinating historical facts with fantasy and philosophical ideas. In an interview Maalouf has said that his role as a writer ...more