New Travel Book: ‘In Arabian Nights’

Travel Blog  •  Frank Bures  •  01.17.08 | 11:43 AM ET

imageFull title: “In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams”

Author: Tahir Shah, who also wrote The Caliph’s House

Released: Dec. 26, 2007

Travel genre: Expat lives

Territory covered: Morocco

Promo copy: “In this entertaining and penetrating book, Tahir sets out on a bold new journey across Morocco that becomes an adventure worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights. As he wends his way through the labyrinthine medinas of Fez and Marrakesh, traverses the Sahara sands, and tastes the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, Tahir collects a dazzling treasury of traditional stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights. The tales, recounted by a vivid cast of characters, reveal fragments of wisdom and an oriental way of thinking that is both enthralling and fresh. A link in the chain of scholars and teachers who have passed these stories down for centuries like a baton in a relay race, Shah reaches layers of culture that most visitors hardly realize exist, and eventually discovers the story living in his own heart. “

Critical verdict: “Shah’s talent as a travel writer is evident on each page. We can feel the heat shimmering off the surface of a desert salt pan, scan the disorienting labyrinth of Marrakech streets and smell the ocean air blowing over the rooftops of Casablanca. But at the heart of this book lie richer and more mysterious things: stories. Shah was raised with the stories told by his father, the famous Sufi writer Idries Shah. To the elder Shah—and now his son—stories weren’t just entertainment. They invite the listener to delve within for essential truths buried in tales of genies and magic carpets. It is a tradition in the Arab world, a way to pass values from one generation to the next.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer

Find it: Amazon, Powell’s, Publisher

Related on World Hum:
* How To: Visit a Moroccan Hammam
* New Travel Book: ‘Arabian Sands’