The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin

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The hero and guiding force of this epic fantasy is an insomniac young man who, unable to sleep, guides the reader through the narrow streets of Cairo-a mysterious city full of deceit and trickery. He narrates a complex tangle of dreams and imaginings that describe an atmosphere constantly shifting between sumptuously learned orientalism, erotic adventure, and dry humor. The result is a thought-provoking puzzle box of sex, philosophy, and theology.

Reminiscent of Italo Calvino, and Umberto Eco, this cult classic is finally back in print!

About Robert Irwin

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Robert Irwin was born in 1946. He read Modern history at Oxford and taught Medieval History at the University of St. Andrews. He has written six novels and is also the author of several non-fiction works, including Night and Horses and the Desert: An Anthology of Classic Arabic Literature (2000). He has also lectured on Arabic and Middle Eastern History at the universities of London, Cambridge and Oxford.
Published April 30, 2002 by Overlook Books. 278 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Arabian Nightmare

Kirkus Reviews

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Balian's dreams have verisimilitude, and he dreams dreams within dreams, so it's hard to say where his waking life ends and his sleep begins, or where one dream interconnects with the next.

Oct 01 1987 | Read Full Review of The Arabian Nightmare

Kirkus Reviews

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Matching The Arabian Nights' scope and enchantment with erudition and wit, Irwin (The Arabian Nightmare, 1987) explores its elusive kingdom of stories, delving into the vast work's textual genesis, cultural history, and literary legacy.

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Publishers Weekly

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Every attempt Balian makes to leave the city is foiled, as one supposedly well-intentioned figure after another leads him into the ever-deepening maze of the city's underworld, populated by whores, laughing dervishes, talking apes and lepers who all weave their respective spells with distinct power.

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