The Arabian Nightmare

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9780670816613: The Arabian Nightmare

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!

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About the Author:

ROBERT IRWIN, the eminent Arabist, is the author of The Arabian Nightmare, Exquisite Corpse, Dangerous Knowledge, Prayer-Cushions of the Flesh, and The Limits of Vision, also available from Overlook.

From Publishers Weekly:

This higly original first novel is deliberately designed to madden: virtually plotless, it's nonetheless loaded with a cat's cradle tangle of mythic tales, with sibylline commentary from a host of wraithlike creatures, who are never what they seem, and with dream sequences that provide ample room for the author's playful dilations on the nature of illusion and reality. The narrator, who may or may not be Dirty Yoll, a Cairene storyteller of the 15th century, reaches forward through time to take Proust's opening line"For a long time I used to go to bed early"for his own. This, then, is to be a bedtime story that introduces Balian, an English pilgrim on his way to Mount Sinai. The English king has recruited him to spy on the Mameluke court in Cairo, but when he arrives there in 1486, he immediately contracts a mysterious disease that causes hallucinations powerful enough to threaten his sanity. The Father of Cats, seductive Zuleyka, Fatima the Deathly, the leper Knights of St. Lazarus and Yoll himself are just a few of the characters sent forth to mend or maim him. Augmented by some 19th century lithographs by David Roberts, which couple nicely with Irwin's sinuous prose, The Arabian Nightmare thrusts us into a landscape as convoluted as Cairo itself, yet by some magical slight-of-hand we at length come to recognize Balian's malady as one of our own.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Robert Irwin
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom (1987)
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1987. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New edition. 218 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The English pilgrim Balian of Norwich comes to medieval Cairo on a spy mission and becomes caught up in strange intrigues. Bookseller Inventory # AAO9780670816613

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1987. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New edition. 218 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The English pilgrim Balian of Norwich comes to medieval Cairo on a spy mission and becomes caught up in strange intrigues. Bookseller Inventory # AAO9780670816613

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Book Description Viking Pr, 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. new edition edition. 288 pages. 8.60x5.30x1.10 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0670816612

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