Lesage a passionate about quatrains of Omar AL Khayam who tells us his quest f. Lesage a passionate about quatrains of Omar AL Khayam who tells us his quest for the lost manuscript of the poet. I don't remember feeling bored during my reading, I was completely soaked in the Persian ambience and was dreaming of lying under an orange tree in one of the Persian gardens; thanks to Amin Maalouf's mastery of the description. These things are veiled, and you and I are on the same side of the veil.

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The novel received the Prix Maison de la Presse. It recounts the creation of his Rubaiyat throughout the history of the Seljuk Empire , his interactions with historical figures such as Vizir Nizam al-Mulk and Hassan al-Sabbah of the order of the Assassins , and his love affair with a female poet of the Samarkand court. The second half of the story documents the efforts of a fictional American named Benjamin Omar Lesage to obtain the fictional original copy of the Rubaiyat, witnessing Persian history throughout the Persian Constitutional Revolution of , only to lose this manuscript in the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Ahmed Rashid reviewed the book for The Independent , and wrote: "Maalouf has written an extraordinary book, describing the lives and times of people who have never appeared in fiction before and are unlikely to do so again. The book is far more than a simple historical novel ; like the intricate embroidery of an oriental carpet it weaves back and forth through the centuries, linking the poetry, philosophy and passion of the Sufi past with modernism.

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A gripping historical novel set in 11th century Persia that imagines the life of poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam. Accused of mocking the inviolate codes of Islam, the Persian poet and sage Omar Khayyam fortuitously finds sympathy with the very man who is to judge his alleged crimes. Recognising genius, the judge decides to spare him and gives him instead a small, blank book, encouraging him to confine his thoughts to it alone. Thus begins the seamless blend of fact and fiction that is Samarkand. Vividly re-creating the history of the manuscript of the Rubaiyaat of Omar Khayyam, Amin Maalouf spans continents and centuries with breathtaking vision: the dusky exoticism of 11th-century Persia, with its poetesses and assassins; the same country's struggles nine hundred years later, seen through the eyes of an American academic obsessed with finding the original manuscript; and the fated maiden voyage of the Titanic, whose tragedy led to the Rubaiyaat's final resting place - all are brought to life with keen assurance by this gifted and award-winning writer. Please sign in to write a review. If you have changed your email address then contact us and we will update your details.


Books in Brief: FICTION

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Samarkand : Pub: Interlink

Arriving in Samarkand from his home in Persia, Khayyam is recognised in the street as a ribald poet who writes about wine and women and whose philosophy mocks Islam. Street toughs declare him an infidel and he is carted off to the judge to be given an appropriate Islamic punishment. Here the comparison with Rushdie ends, for the judge is an intellectual, recognises Khayyam's genius and gives him a small blank book filled with the finest leaves of Chinese paper. Write it down on these sheets which will stay hidden,' the judge whispers to him in the courtroom. The head of a great poet is saved and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is born. Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese writer whose second novel, Samarkand, has already won a leading literary prize in France, has conjured up Central Asia in the 11th century, when the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand were the greatest in the world. Maalouf's descriptions of the courts, the bazaar, the lives of mystics, kings and lovers are woven into an evocative and languid prose.

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