On the Road to Baghdad: A Picaresque Novel of Magical Adventures, Begged, Borrowed, and Stolen from the Thousand and One Nig

Guneli Gun, Author Hunter House Publishers $19.95 (377p) ISBN 978-0-89793-033-8
Intermingling myth, fact and fiction, Gun creates a fanciful, old-fashioned epic that spans the Ottoman empire in the 16th century and tells a meandering tale of a woman's travels and travails. Awkward young Huru's adventures begin when her brother abandons her during a journey from Istanbul to Baghdad. By the end, when she trades her musical talent for something more valuable, Huru has spent time disguised as a boy and has married a woman; she has seen Persia, Turkey and Syria and traveled through time; she has married a sultan, borne his son and survived--with help from the spirit world--by her wits and her talent for playing her stone lyre. Along the way, she encounters many renowned figures, including Shahrazad, the witty and driven writer, and Lady Zubaida, a successful and independent businesswoman married to the infamous ruler Harun-er-Rashid. Through these anecdotes, the reader catches sometimes magical glimpses of a different world and a tumultuous era. But the novel's density and jarring mix of formal, archaic rhythms with modern language discourage a reader's total immersion. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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