Full of mischief, valor, ribaldry, and romance, The Arabian Nights has enthralled readers for centuries. These are the tales that saved the life of Scheherazade, whose husband, the king, executed each of his wives after a single night of marriage. Beginning an enchanting story each evening, Scheherazade always withheld the ending: A thousand and one nights later, her life was spared forever.
The Arabian Nights assembles tales from centuries of Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures in an enchanting collection whose varied characters, storylines, and methods of describing them have influenced modern genres as diverse as fantasy, science fiction, and detective fiction. The collection employs the frame tale of a woman staving off her execution by telling stories that leave her husband, the sultan, in such suspense that he continuously postpones the sentence. Suehyla El Attar embodies Scheherazade, performing the collection with a feminine wile, as well as enthusiastically voicing the gruff beasts and powerful heroes like Aladdin, Ali Ba Ba, and Sinbad the Sailor who make this audiobook such an intoxicating stimulant to the imagination.
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Not unabridged Burton--this is Lang
The selection is advertised as the unabridged Burton translation, but it is actually the abridged Lang version.
This was not Burton's translation, but rather Lang's bowdlerization.
The frame story of Shahrazad.
None--but Lang cut freely.
Change the advertising as soon as possible. I am sure there is a market for this version of the Arabian Nights, and the voice performer is excellent.
- Richard L Chicago
Good, But Not Burton
The length and breadth of the stories is amazing. The combination of real and imaginary places, people, animals, and supernatural beings is dazzling. These stories are works of imagination of a high order. They also provide a great many insights into the Islamic world of the Middle Ages that created them.
Harun al-Rashid of course. He was the fifth Arab Abbasid Caliph. He ruled from 786 to 809. His reign make well have been the apogee of the Islamic Golden Age. He promoted Islamic art and music along with science and commerce.
So many come to mind, it is hard to choose. The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor stand out. However, the tale of the Christian, Jew, and Muslim who all plead guilty to a murder they did not commit (to save someone else) is noteworthy as well.
This is both a good to great, and limited narration of the Arabian Nights. The single best feature of this narration is its length (11 hours and 35 minutes). The Arabian Nights is very large collection of stories of varying quality. However, even the very best stories still take many, many hours to narrate. Some of the other audiobooks narrating the Arabian Nights are just too short. This one is not.
Initially I was somewhat wary of a female narration. The stories are generally written from a male perspective and implied storyteller is almost always male. However, after listening to this audiobook, I can strongly recommend Suehyla El Attar's narration.
Others have suggested that this narration is not based on the Burton translations of the Arabian Nights (Lang is suggested as the source). This may or may not be true. However, the language does not appear to be Burton's. Most of the sex and violence has been authentically retained from the original stories. However, the Islamic character and context has been largely deleted. These are (mostly) stories from the Islamic Middle Ages and the Burton translation retained the pervasive Islamic environment of the stories. This version does not.
- Peter Schaeffer