Tales of the Marvelous and News of the Strange

Tales of the Marvelous and News of the Strange: The First English Translation of a Medieval Arab Fantasy Collection

This is kind of a neat collection of tales.  They're not from the 1001 Nights, though they may not be a whole lot different.  These stories are from a medieval Arabic manuscript that has lost its original title, but contains the "tales of the marvelous and news of the strange" description on the first extant page.  Penguin made a very nice effort with the book, which is hardbound with a pretty gold stamped design on the cover and matching endpapers.

In these stories, young warriors go on quests and kill lots of other warriors.  Beautiful maidens (who are also very well-educated) fall in love and either waste away or emerge triumphant.  Everybody recites poetry a lot.  People end up in prison, or are given lavish gifts, or meet magic animals.

It did take me a long time to read this collection, because the stories do get a bit repetitive in their themes.  They're fun to read, though.  And I still think the title is pretty irresistible.


  1. I love this summary so much. This is exactly the level of detail I was looking for in this title!

  2. I heard about this one when it was published, I guess. It does have an irresistible title! Though it's been on my notional TBR list for a while, and I haven't done anything yet...

    Maybe I should!


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