Shah continues the story he began in his acclaimed memoir The Caliph's House, the tale of his family's move to Morocco, this time focusing on the traditional wisdom stories of Arabia, best known in the West through A Thousand and One Nights. Inspired by his family's long tradition of storytelling (""We have this gift,"" says his father, ""Protect it and it will protect you""), Shah frames his search for identity with traditional Arabian tales, but also with the stories of the men who tell them. As such, he creates a bright patchwork quilt of stories old and new, including his own childhood memories, held together by an engaging cross-country travelogue. Shah's habit of frequently and abruptly switching between plotlines, though it keeps the story moving, can be aggravating, and his picaresque style makes it hard to tell where the real adventures end and the tall tales begin. In addition, women are conspicuously underrepresented, especially for audiences recalling Scheherazade. Still, his characters often prove charming, and his stories are steeped in feeling and a palpable sense of tradition. Illustrations.