East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Getting away from it all – sort of

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So today it transpired I needed a LONG vacation.
I will not bother you with the details – let’s just say that periodically my unbound love for humanity sort of becomes less-unbound-than-usual.

And because I can’t afford a vacation right now – nor will I be able to afford it in the foreseeable future – the only way to do it is to drop everything and pick up a good book.
Two, actually.
One paper-bound and another in digital format.
Something different and good and diverting.
I always keep a good stock of “in case of need break the glass” books – and when depression and sadness reach the limit, that’s exactly what I do, and that’s where I go.

amirhamzaSo right now on my reading list, and superseding any other plan or project, are two books translated by Musharraf Ali Farouqui from the original Urdu sources.
The first is my paperbound copy of The adventures of Amir Hamza, published by The Modern Library.
This is an epic fantasy adventure, belonging to the Persian tradition and filled with magic, strange creatures, action and derring-do.
Just to give you an idea, I open it at random (one of the perks of paper books) and I chance upon a chapter – page 171, we are still in Book One – titled On Amyr Hamza’s First Tryst with the Apogee of Elegance, Princess Mehr-Nigar.
The apogee of elegance. Not your standard fantasy wench this one.

41yyym5kpxl-_sx324_bo1204203200_The second book is the first volume of the Hoshruba cycle, The Land and the Tilism, in which once again Amir Hamza appears… together with an army of tricksters.
C’mon, seriously, the guy is obviously the epitome of narrative cool.
Once again an Urdu epic fantasy from the very end of the 19th century, this looks like a nice companion to the first. It is alas the first volume in the cycle, and I have no idea when – if ever – the following volumes will be published.
This I got for about four euro in digital format, and it was quite a bargain.

The choice of these two titles is in part due to the general mood of the week, and the frequent references to the Arabian Nights and the subgenre of Arabian Fantasy.
In part, it is a happy departure from the too crowded shores of modern genre fiction, where I currently feel not too welcome.

So, this will be my vacation – I’ll keep writing and doing my things, and struggle to put bread on the table, but for a while, in the evening and for an hour after lunch, I’ll be somewhere between Persia and India, having a ball with Amir Hamza.
It should be fun.


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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