Title: Scorpion Soup
Author: Tahir Shah
Published Date: March 2013
Genre: Short Stories, Fantasy
***THIS BOOK WAS GIVEN TO ME IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Inspired by a book his grandfather wrote eighty years ago, master storyteller and author Tahir Shah set about creating SCORPION SOUP, an intense experience of interlinked and overlapping tales.
Having been raised on stories from both East and West, Shah believes that tales work on numerous levels, subtly influencing the way we see the world, and the way we learn from it.
Magical instruments, and secret machineries in their own right, stories are within us all. And, the way we appreciate them, from the cradle is, Shah believes, part of the default setting of Mankind.
Introduced in early childhood to the wonders of A Thousand and One Nights, Shah learned to receive and appreciate complex structures and storytelling devices. These have been used throughout history to pass on ideas, cultural values and information, as well as, of course, to entertain.
Having been inspired by The Nights, especially in the way that one story leads into another, and yet another, Shah used this technique (known as the “frame story”) in SCORPION SOUP.
An interwoven and intoxicating collection of tales, the book descends down through many layers, as one story progresses into the next, and eventually brings us back to the first.
There is the tale of the Capilongo, a sophisticated bird-like creature that lives in the jungle with sloth-servants, who invites his would-be assassin to dine before allowing himself to be killed. And there is the tale of the Clockmaker who harnesses the soul of a Jinn, in the guise of a hoopoe, and uses it to travel back in time to the realm of Harun Al-Rachid. There is the cautionary tale, too, of the Man Whose Arms Grew Branches, and the story of the Fish’s Dream.
Unlike anything that has been published in the Occidental world before, SCORPION SOUP is a rich and diverse feast for the senses, and a book that instructs as much as it does entertain.
A (Five Stars)
Ah! What a lovely collection of stories, I love short story collections, especially when they flow so well together like the stories in this book. Each story is wonderfully written, and really has some solid meaning to it, it’s just wonderful. This collection, which takes hints from A Thousand and One Nights, tells stories that lead into other stories, which keeps the reader reading. Each story has something more special to it then the one you left, so though you might be sad leaving behind such a wonderful story, you get to head into another story, which takes away your sadness and distracts you all over again. Tahir Shah has such a way with words, you can tell time and care were put into crafting these stories, picking the right wording, and making sure it all went together so beautifully. It’s just a really wonderful collection of stories that anyone of any age would enjoy reading once, and then again because it’s so lush. I really love that the stories leave things open, and allow for imagination to work together to allow the reader to imagine what could’ve happened and really get involved in the tale! I’m so glad to have read this book, it’s written outstandingly well, and it’s just so compelling, the stories individually have so much going for them, but the way they connect make it even better! Great job!
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