They say don’t judge a book by its cover. I try not to. I do, however, judge most books—at least a smidgen—by their first sentence. And The Many Assassinations of Samir, Seller of Dreams begins with a five star string of words.
“The first time I was stoned to death by an angry mob, I was not even a criminal.”
I didn’t even mean to keep reading (I have a to-read list a mile long, after all!) but I couldn’t help myself after a sentence like that. I was immediately pulled along with Omar (soon nicknamed Monkey) and his delightful, wheedling, story-selling master Samir as they sell their wares and wheedle for their lives along the ancient Silk Road.
This story is hard to summarize without spoilers, as so much depends on you following along with Monkey’s spellbinding narration. So, just to be sure I don’t say too much, here is how the publisher took on this difficult task:
This is the tale of an exciting journey along the Silk Road with a young Monk and his newfound guardian, Samir, a larger than life character and the so-called “Seller of Dreams”. The man is a scammer; his biggest skill being the ability to talk his way into getting what he wants. While that talking did save Monkey’s life, it has left a lot of people furious with Samir— furious enough to hire assassins. Monkey decides to try and save Samir from the attempts on his life—as a way to pay off his debt! If he can save Samir six times, he’ll be a free man...but will they all survive that long?
I loved the drama. I loved the perfectly timed and humorously handled forays into philosophy. I loved Monkey, with his uptight and cautious ways, and I loved Samir (the Professor Harold Hill of the Silk Road, if ever there was one). And I loved the storytelling most of all. Like Nayeri’s masterpiece Everything Sad is Untrue, this book is full of beautiful scenes and beautiful sentences and beautiful sentiments. Storytellers, you have a lot to learn on its pages. Story lovers, I defy you not to be entranced.
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Hi! I'm Faith. I blog about books and creativity, family and faith. Welcome!