This new collection of tales from the Arabian Nights will make you gasp with wonder and laugh with delight and the magical storyteller Scherazade will keep you spellbound for days.
Anushka Ravishankar is an award-winning writer and playwright based in Chennai. She has written over twenty books of verse, fiction and non-fiction, which include Tiger on a Tree, Moin and the Monster, To Market to Market and At Least a Fish, among others. Several of her books have been published internationally.
The stories known as Arabian Nights or One Thousand and One Nights are a collection of oral tales, texts and retellings from Arabia, Persia, India and China. There are many translations of the stories. Like all good stories, they change with every retelling and like most oral tales, they can be found in many cultures and in many forms.
Telling a tale that has been told many times before is a challenge and a delight. It's like entering a house that one loves and knows intimately and redecorating it. You know that the foundation is solid and though you cannot change the layout very much, you can make the house your own in different ways. The more durable and beautiful the house, the more the people who want to live in it. So you'll find many, many versions of the Arabian Nights-simplified ones for children, complex ones for adults, short ones, long ones, illustrated ones, bad ones, good ones, lyrical ones and funny ones.
What usually remains more or less constant is the framework-the story of King Schariar who decides to kill his wife every morning and marry a new one; and of Scherazade, who takes up the challenge and saves the lives of many young women through the power of her storytelling.
So although Arabian Nights tells tales about kings, queens, djinns, wizards, magic and many other things, it is essentially a story about storytelling.
The Storyteller is the hero. Or, in this case, the heroine.
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