STORIES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS by Naomi--Adapt. Lewis

STORIES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These thirty tales, with highly sophisticated language and themes, are closer to Richard Burton than to Andrew Lang: they deal with slavery, sexuality, and the social mores of their time and place of origin. These powerful stories have occasional echoes of themes from Western folktales (i.e., love found through chance or magic lost and found again through the same), but what distinguishes this collection is not similarities but differences: themes of destiny, justice, forgiveness, and luck subject to the will of Allah. Death resulting from displeasing the mighty or wealthy is expected; beauty and subtle influence is a woman's only power. While ""forgiveness can become another name for folly,"" and compassion is sometimes seen as a weakness, there is a strong Good Samaritan ethic running through these tales--helping the poor and wretched in the name of Allah is worthy. Pieck's illustrations are reminiscent of Rackham and Dulac, but pallid by comparison. Although his facial expressions lack articulation and sometimes border on the stereotypical, the style of his color paintings and silhouettes support the romantic language of the text. The difficulty with this volume is finding a place for it. The Arabian Nights were originally adult entertainment, with adult themes and language. Young adults and adults with an interest in this area will be fascinated. Recommended for large folktale or ethnic collections.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1987
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Henry Holt