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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Samarkand.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

Accused of mocking the inviolate codes of Islam, Persian poet Omar Khayyam fortuitously finds sympathy with the very man who is to judge his alledged crime. He is spared, and thus begins the blend of fact and fiction that is 'Samarkand'.

Edward Fitzgerald's Victorian-era translation of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyaat profoundly influenced the West's perception (or misperception) of Persia. Lebanese author Maalouf tries to set the record straight in this fictional history of Omar's personal manuscript copy of the famous quatrains. The first half of the book introduces three world-historical Persians: Omar himself, a brilliant poet, mathematician, and astronomer; the vizier Nizam al-Mulk, a philosophical despot whose political theories anticipate Machiavelli; and the fanatical cult leader Hassan, who commands an invincible army of assassins from the mountain fortress of Alamut. In the second half, a wealthy collector miraculously recovers the lost manuscript and books passage home on the Titanic in celebration. Despite its exotic locales, this is a curiously dry historical novel from the author of the science fiction parable The First Year After Beatrice (Braziller, 1995). For larger fiction collections.?Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los AngelesCopyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Maalouf's fiction offers both a model for the future and a caution, a way towards cultural understanding and a appalling measure of the consequences of failure. His is a voice which Europe cannot afford to ignore. * The Guardian * An example of the best type of historical fiction * TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT * Maalouf's descriptions of the courts, the bazaar, the lives of mystics, kings and lovers are woven into an evocative and languid prose...and extraordinary book * INDEPENDENT *

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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Abacus (UK); Revised ed. edition (January 1, 1994)
  • English
  • 2
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Guest on November 18, 2017

    Samarkand is a delightful read, full of images I can surely say that this is my favorite book in the world I don't think you can find many authors have this ability to make the reader feel this way. For me it was a sublime experience.

  • By Martin F. C. on June 13, 2016

    Amazing storytelling, the likes of which I though were impossible to find again in literature. A historic, emotional and spiritual story unfolding with a very beautiful use of the English language. I don't know if this book was written in English or translated, but the text is beautiful and the story unfolds beautifully (although the story itself is far from being of a rosy hue, it's a poetic-existential razor's edge). Excellent.

  • By Geert Jan Bex on August 10, 2015

    Yet another wonderful book by Amin Maalouf. He paints a vivid picture of 11th century Persia, seen through the eyes of Omar Khatami, philosopher, scientist and poet. A manuscript with a collection of his poems, as well as his biography is lost for centuries after the Mongols burn the library of Alamitos, the stronghold of the Assassin's. It resurfaces in the early 20th century, and Maalouf sketches the struggle of Iran against the Imperial powers of that time, again a fascinating historical period.Well worth reading for everyone with an interest in history in a beautiful and gripping narrative.

  • By M. A. ZAIDI on July 19, 2001

    The story of Samarkand is woven around the history of the manuscript of the Rubaiyaat of Omar Khayyam, from its creation by the poet and sage in eleventh-century Persia to its loss when the Titanic sank in 1912. Unwittingly involved in a brawl on the streets of Samarkand, Omar Khayyam is brought before a local judge who recognizes his genius as a poet and gives him a blank book in which to inscribe his verses. Thus the head of a great poet is saved and the Rubaiyaat of Omar Khayyam is born. The threads of his life become interwoven with the designs of the vizier, Nizam al Mulk, and of Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the Order of the Assassins who later hides the precious manuscript in his famous mountain fortress. At the end of the nineteenth century the poems fire the imagination of the West in Edward Fitzgerald's evocative translation. An American scholar learns of the manuscript's survival and recovers it with the help of a Persian princess. Together they take it on the fateful voyage of the Titanic.

  • By David Pearce on August 30, 2017

    Great book, my Middle Eastern studies teacher recommended this to our class. I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say this one book has two books worth of content. Reading this made Omar Khayyam a personal hero of mine.

  • By Hamada Kaido on September 26, 2000

    What a wonderful book this was. I have known about the celebrated Omar Khayyam's poetry for quite a while but had never had a chance to learn about his life in detail. Although, technically, this is a work of fiction, it is mostly based on history and specific events. It is both a lesson in ancient and modern oriental history (mainly Persia) interwoven with Omar Khayyam's life and poetry. Maalouf is one of the few people who can write with such eloquence and imagination that keeps you asking for more.

  • By OEK on October 23, 2014

    Fascinating insight into the history and culture of a region that Europe has overlooked, ignored or intentionally misrepresented. A good fictional embellishment for Fred Starr's excellent academic work on this region. Makes me want to read more by Maalouf.

  • By Jeanne Cooper on December 5, 2015

    I loved the story going through the decades but linked by the manuscript. A good insight into life as it was in Central Asia. Well written.

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