...the storytelling that Shahrazad invents, in order to stay alive, is a kind of storytelling that is not able to end, that never reaches a climax. Rather, the stories are inhabited by a kind of insatiable desire, an open unfishedness that keeps us reading and panting, eager for more, just as King Shahryar listens and pants...[the tales'] exotic, charged texture, derives from this desirousness, this endless trembling on the point both of climax, and of death.In my edition, many series of nights were compiled. I'm actually writing this review before finishing all the stories (I only have like three left)- they're all so intricate and detailed that I feel obligated to spend as much time as possible devouring them. For the rest of the summer, as I work on my reading list, I will finish up these tales. So far, I've read most of them; including the frame story at the beginning, some lesser-known ones ("The Fisherman and the 'Ifrit" and "The Porter and the Three Ladies")as well as ones that have permeated popular culture today ("The Story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Killed by a Slave Girl," "Sinbad the Sailor," and "The Story of Aladdin, or the Magic Lamp"). They were all resoundingly unique, and some even fall under the fairy tale category, as Robert Irwin (British historian & novelist) writes in the introduction:
"A fairytale...is but a story that relies on the fantastic to induce wonder...[yet] there are also plenty of stories in which the fantastic and the supernatural do not feature - stories about cunning adulterers, learned slave girls, pious hermits, master criminals, benevolent or despotic rulers and so on." There is also insertion of poetry into the stories, with the characters in the tales quoting famous Arab poets to express their emotion, such as the porter who proclaims his trustworthiness by declaring:
Only the trustworthy can keep a secret,My favorite story was Ali Baba; I had heard of the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was one I had heard of, but I had no idea what it was about. It is actually the story of a brilliant slave girl who saves her master (Ali Baba) from death at the hand of forty thieves (whose lair he accidentally stumbled upon). Stories like this one are why I loved this novel/collection of stories so much, and I highly encourage everyone to read it. Rating: ★★★★★
And it is with the good that secrets are concealed.
With me they are kept locked inside a room
Whose keys are lost and whose door has been sealed.