Dreaming of Djinn

Edited by Liz Grzyb. Ticonderoga, $16.99 trade paper (340p) ISBN 978-1-921857-35-5
This unfortunate anthology of original short fiction with an Arabian Nights theme gives the impression that most of the contributors skimmed the same Wikipedia entry to inspire their stories and ignored anything that wasn’t about belly dancing, sultans, or djinn. Several authors use Arabic or Persian words inappropriately, incorrectly, or extraneously: “khanjar” means nothing more than “dagger” in Arabic, but in “Shadow Dancer,” Marilag Angway differentiates between normal daggers and her protagonist’s very special “khanjar.” Many pieces feature beautiful prose and competent storytelling, particularly Jetse de Vries’s standout “Djinni Djinni Dream Dream,” but they’re diminished by the anthology’s over-reliance on the word “exotic” and overall feel of Orientalist pantomime. Any story taken on its own might be entertaining, but cumulatively the effect is exhausting. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
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