Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz

Arabian Nights and Days

A renowned Nobel Prize-winning novelist refashions the classic tales of Scheherazade in his own imaginative, spellbinding style. Here are genies and flying carpets, Aladdin and Sinbad, Ali Baba, and many other familiar stories, made new by the magical pen of the acknowledged dean of Arabic letters.

Details Arabian Nights and Days

TitleArabian Nights and Days
Release DateSep 24th, 1995
GenreFiction, Fantasy, Literature, Novels, Classics, Northern Africa, Egypt, Nobel Prize, Short Stories, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fairy Tales

Reviews Arabian Nights and Days

  • Francisco
    I decided a month or so ago to read some books by Arab authors. I was hoping to find the longing and the loneliness, the need for love and for useful work that we all share as human beings. I hoped that I would find in Arab authors kindred souls to help me bridge the sense of separation that I felt with my Muslim brothers and sisters. I'm so glad I undertook this personal journey. I found such beautiful writing, yes, but also a willingness and ea...
  • Bettie
    (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]And so on to Wandaful...
  • VJ
    Based loosely on the Arabian Nights, this novel begins with a description of the sultan Shariyar as a bloodthirsty despot who is contemplating doing away with his wife, Sharzhad, should she fail to continue entertaining him with stories. We are then treated to several stories of people related to both Shariyar and Sharzhad either by blood or politics, which can be one and the same thing in this context. Excellent character studies and a continued...
  • Christine
    The thing about 1001 Nights is the ending, where Sherzhade gets to keep her head. Would you really like to be married to a man who kept beheading wives on the first day of the honeymoon? Mahfouz seems to be playing with this idea and some others in this quasi sequel to Arabian Nights. In part, he explores why a sultan can do something and an everyman cannot. He deals with the question of faith and how stories and telling change our view of that. ...
  • Scotty
    Under extraordinary circumstances, how will humans react?The book starts off with the worst of the worst, then proceeds to run the gamut of good and bad. I loved this book. Morality under a microscope with a flair for the fantastic. And it's not done in a heavy-handed manner! You don't get beaten over the head with the message, the author assumes you're clever enough to pick it up on your own. Funny, I just saw it on the shelf at the library, tho...
  • Karen
    This is an interesting book with a lot of symbolism. The problem is that I am very character driven and this book (like other Mahfouz books I have read) goes through many characters quickly and never lets me feel a bond with any of them. I can imagine others enjoying this book, but it is just not for me.
  • Kara
    The book starts at the end of Arabian Nights with the sultan announcing to the Vizier that he has decided not to kill Shaharazad after all, much to her father’s relief.Then, the tales she has just finished telling play out in the city in a magical realism style that left me feeling something had been lost in translation. Was this a commentary on 20th century events? Some deep philosophical pondering on human nature? I couldn’t tell.Meanwhile,...
  • Evey
    Beneath the surface, in the depths of consciousness, lie the shadows that poison and ruin, their maws salivating at the prospect of devouring from within and without. In Arabian Nights and Days, the shadows manifest through the jinn, their draw and provocation the catalyst that breed the inhuman condition. This is portrayed in Qumqam, Zarmabaha, and the owner of the Invisibility Cap, mystical beings that corrupt and influence the imperfect souls ...
  • Tim Hicks
    Fascinating. We're in the society where Shahrzad (Scheherazade to Westerners) has just finished 1001 nights of storytelling. The sultan executes a few people every day, but most people just muddle on. Until one of the jinn interferes, usually by putting opportunity in someone's way. The result of the opportunity is usually profit for someone, death for someone else, and often execution for several of those involved. But there's a gentle humour to...
  • Hadi Muss
    This is my first Naguib Mahfouz book I read and after reading a few of books written by Middle Eastern writers I personally don't fancy them but this one, is absolutely amazing.First few chapters moves slow and I almost give up but then when the stories uncover itself; it's beyond magic and I am glad that I don't stop reading it. This book follow a few character who we get to know one by one but the as the reading process go they grow together wi...
  • Eyüp Tayşir
    "The corruption of scholars is through heedlessness, and the corruption of princes is through injustice, and the corruption of the Sufis is through hypocrisy.""A prince without learning, a scholar without virtue, a Sufi without trust in God, and the corruption of the world lies in their corruption."
  • Erika
    Elegantly written, this is a complex mesh of intertwined stories and views on a city plagued by corruption.
  • Alaa Ibrahem
    This was one of the best bed time companions
  • Derz
    Review also found on Book HangoverIn Arabian Nights and Days, Mahfouz entwines both social and individual morality. This novel really made me think and question how I view people, society, and morality. If these characters abandoned their beliefs effortlessly in these exceptional circumstances, then one has to wonder: did they ever really have any morals? Were they ever inherently good or were they only good because they had to be? This book was ...
  • Logan
    Reading Nobel Prize Laureate Naguib Mahfouz's companion to 1001 Arabian Nights was both challenging and insightful. It really brought to my awareness how (despite being fairly knowledgable about the Middle East) there is quite a bit of cultural context required to fully understand the depth of meaning in his work. (It also would have helped to have read 1001 Arabian Nights). That being said, I very much enjoyed this work. The style was challengin...
  • A-ron
    Another of my favorite writers. Mahfouz is a master story teller. He is a prolific writer, stylistically diverse, and I believe innovative. Nights and Days was the first of his novels that I read.It is set in a mystical and magical Arabia, and thus somewhat allegorical. The novel begins on the day after Sharzad finishes telling her tales (The Arabian Nights) to the Sultan, and wanders from the palace to the quarters of the city. Each chapter reve...
  • Renée
    I read this about 15 years ago and decided to reread it. Loved it even more than the first time.Justice, life, death & love are explored in ways that can challenge those steeped only in Western concepts.If you read the original 1001 Nights and have a minimal understanding of Sufi teachings (or even Buddhism or other Eastern religions), you'll appreciate the deeper psychological/spiritual levels of being that Mahfouz explores.The stories remind me...
  • Adrian
    What I like best about this modernized retelling of the classical Tales of Arabian Nights is the subtle injection of Sufism added by Mahfouz. I have already listed The Conference of the Birds in my list of favorite books, but that if not something that can necessarily be understood at first by the uninitiated in Sufism. I would recommend starting with this and doing a little background reading on the principles of Sufism. But even if you have no ...
  • Liz
    I thought this would be right up my street, but I was slightly disappointed - I think my expectations had been set too high. It took a while to get into, partly due to the incredibly short chapters that cut into the flow and the then long Arabic names that kept tripping me up.Is it me or were at least half the characters beheaded or mad by the end of the book?
  • Thenicole
    Thankless task, to try to write a review of Mahfouz. Simply put, he's a master of Islamic writing, a master of personality, of human folly, and even in translation he puts most of us to shame. Whereas you'd expect something kind of sweet, this bitter book is utterly human; which is to say, it is about cruelty and pettiness and the lives of those who live to closely together. Flawless.
  • Nada Sobhi
    I absolutely HATED this book! It was the second book by Naguib Mahfouz for me, and so far the last, I have not gotten over it to venture with something else!I don't remember how many tales there were.. but they were all sad and left the reader, me, miserable and depressed!
  • Mia
    A fine retelling of the tales of the Arabian Nights, with a darker more sardonic interpretation, that possibly have political meanings for those more familiar with contemporary Egyptian history.
  • Shelina S Z
    Quite different from his Cairo trilogy. This was very clever and upended the Traditional Arabian nights. The book itself is so beautiful it added to the pleasure of reading it.
  • Mikela
    The writing was beautiful...the tales less so.
  • Amr Rashad
    Another masterpiece by Naguib Mahfouz,mixture of fantasy, and Egyptian melodrama, short stories combined to make a complete, connected novel. I wish to see a movie out of this book.
  • Jonathan Martinez
    This book for me was honestly confusing. Most of which comes from the simple fact that I didn't read the original book. There were references and talks of several characters who I knew none about. That being said, this book is extremely entertaining and provides an engaging story with action always occurring. Add to the fact that there are spirits of good and evil in a Middle Eastern setting with excellent characters and this story becomes an ext...
  • Konstantin
    [rating = A]One of my: Best Books of the Year (for 2018)Previously, I had tried to read this book twice, but could not get past the first pages. Then! for some reason, I started it again and it just took off. What a wonderful little book about the workings of man. Although I dislike the overtly religious tone and nature of the stories (almost like parables really), I found the action exciting and intriguing, very different from Western storytelli...
  • Saga
    This is such a delight to read. I these a thousand and one night-esque stories to be very enjoyable, although I have not read the original work that inspired them, so I might have missed out on some important references here.Anyway, I liked the setting, you really got a feel of the town through reoccurring characters and places. Still, there is a time- and placelessness to this book that I also enjoyed. The setting is historical and islamic – t...
  • Jason
    "Arabian Nights and Days" asks an obvious question. What happens after Shahrazad's stories work?Does everyone immediately forgive the Sultan's murders? Are the crimes forgotten?What kind of nation is run by a man who kills on a whim? What kind of city is ruled by a man who is soothed by stories?But "Arabian Nights" spends most of its time outside the palace. It links the stories of characters who could come from Shahrazad: a sweetmeat seller gift...