Drawing on the characters and the spirit of the classic A Thousand and One Nights, Arabian Nights and Days is a significant departure for Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz.
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The American University in Cairo Press, 2003
Novel - Arabic Fiction - Egypt
Though he is best known for chronicling his own times, in this novel, first published in Arabic in 1982, Mahfouz injects new life into an Arabic masterpiece. Though it is set in an Islamic city in medieval times, the modern reader will find much in this novel that is surprisingly familiar. It depicts a city plagued by widespread corruption among its most powerful citizens, and a pervasive sense of social unrest and insecurity. The chief of police is kept particularly busy dealing with the underground activities of various religious sects that are intent on changing the unscrupulous regime. Amid all of this, as in the Thousand and One Nights, genies appear out of bottles accidentally opened by innocent individuals, affecting their lives in exciting, sometimes detrimental ways. Famed for his skill as a storyteller, Naguib Mahfouz has here produced a novel that is as colorful and entertaining as the book that inspired it.