What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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Suggest books for me > Arabian Nights translations/retellings

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message 1: by Historic_Heroine (last edited Oct 20, 2016 02:29PM) (new)

Historic_Heroine | 74 comments I've always been really interested in fairy tales, but my knowledge of anything outside of European stories is really limited. I'd love to read some more Arabian Nights stories, but I know that translations of fairy tales can be hugely varied in their quality, so I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for some particularly good versions of Arabian Nights? Retellings are okay too, but I am more interested in short story versions than entire novels at this point in time!


message 2: by Melanti (last edited Oct 20, 2016 04:06PM) (new)

Melanti | 333 comments Do you mean the original Arabian Nights folktales?

I liked Hussain Haddawy's translation: The Arabian Nights.

As a caveat, this is based off of the stories that Mahdi's research led him to believe were the original stories and doesn't include a lot of rather famous stories that Mahdi felt were added much later.

If you're wanting the more famous stories ("Sinbad the Sailor", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", "Aladdin", etc) you might want to go with this second volume: The Arabian Nights II: Sindbad and Other Popular Stories


If you'd like to compare translators for the original Arabian Nights, I gave the same passage in multiple translations in my review to see which you like best: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 4: by Historic_Heroine (last edited Oct 20, 2016 04:35PM) (new)

Historic_Heroine | 74 comments Melanti wrote: "If you'd like to compare translators for the original Arabian Nights, I gave the same passage in multiple translations in my review to see which you like best: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... "

Oh awesome, I will definitely look at that! That will be really helpful in deciding which translation I want to check out. Thank you!

Joseph wrote: "You might like:
The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
[book:The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of the Arabian Nights|1..."


I've read, and really enjoyed, The Wrath and the Dawn. I haven't read the sequel yet, but it's on my list. I'll look at some of the other ones too! Thanks for the suggestions.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling by Hanan Al-Shaykh. It's a feminist-y retelling of some of the stories from the original; not too long.


message 6: by Rosa (new)

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5198 comments Sir Richard Burton's translation, The Arabian Nights, is the classic. He translated the whole thing in many volumes, but the highlights are included in that volume.


message 7: by ...cats? (new)

...cats? | 417 comments Richard Burton worked on the most famous translation of the original "Arabian Nights", but if your aim is to get away from a European perspective, I wouldn't recommend it. His interpretation is very Euro-imperialist and anachronistic. It's an interesting historical text that gives a lot of insight into European attitudes towards South Asia and the Middle East, but it's not representative of actual South Asian or Middle Eastern culture.

Re: retellings, I believe Salman Rushdie's Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights has strong Arabian Nights influences.
Isabel Greenberg's The One Hundred Nights of Hero is also inspired by Scheherazade.


message 8: by Audrey (new)

Audrey | 119 comments Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, told from the perspective of a young girl who works in the palace. I loved it when I was younger and reread it many times.


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