The Arabian Nights by Anonymous
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I went in expecting lighthearted, whimsical "Aladdin"-style hijinks but what I got was a monotonous, occasionally disturbing collection of sadistic fables. Grimm, Aesop and Homer can't touch The Arabian Nights in terms of darkness or depravity. Rape, slavery, beheadings and castrations are as common as breathing in these stories, which are remarkable mainly for their absurdity.
While serving as an intriguing look into the fabric of Arabian culture, the material is as dense and foreboding as religious scripture. Getting through it is as as masochistic an undertaking as reading through "Moby-Dick," "War and Peace" or "Great Expectations." You read it not out of pleasure or interest, but out of sheer, stubborn will to defeat it and claim it as a trophy on your mental mantle.
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