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The Secret of Laughter


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About the Author

Shusha Guppy was born and brought up in Iran. She went to Paris when she was 17 to study at the Sorbonne, and moved to London in the early 1960s. London editor of The Paris Review, she contributes to publications on both sides of the Atlantic. A well-known writer and singer/songwriter, she is also the author of the prize winning The Blindfold Horse and A Girl in Paris (both Tauris Parke Paperbacks).


'Somehow she puts you in touch with the ancient experience of a whole people... the real river of souls and physical ritual history which is the genius of Persia.' - Ted Hughes; 'She writes with a fluency and charm that seem to come as naturally as breathing.' - Patrick Leigh Fermor; 'Each tale of wonder and adventure is retold with practice and polish, displaying a natural storyteller's inventive ability to interweave versions in pursuit of the perfect tapestry. Guppy's versions, rich in texture and expansive in form, manage to compress a hundred Persian nights of leisurely storytelling into a few pages.' - Aamer Hussein, Independent; 'A bewitching collection of folk tales revealing a wonderfully rich culture. In contrast to the current, desperately limited portrait of Islam in the media, It's a surprisingly sensual collection, revealing a strongly female-centred society. All in all, this is remarkably subversive for a book of fairy stories.' - John Williams, Mail on Sunday; 'Guppy heard these tales in her childhood, has carried the memory of them around the cities of Europe, telling them to children, embellishing them with details and wisdom of her own, and now writing them down in polished versions that are models of narrative clarity. Cheerful and heartwarming. A pleasure to read.' - Roger Scruton, The Times; 'Charming and digressive, they [the Stories] are full of sorcery, love affairs and tyrants who are thwarted by clever, resourceful women.' - Financial Times Magazine; 'A delightful read. The Secret of Laughter allows us to witness the ability of literature to preserve a culture...' - Times Higher Education Supplement; 'She makes you live moments of real enchantment. . freshness, delicacy, intensity.' - Nathalie Sarraute; 'A more charming, alluring and unique book will not be published this - or any other - year...The Secret of Laughter is regrettably brief but repeatedly memorable.' - Douglas Murray, author of Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas; 'Well-remembered and beautifully written...vivid description...wonderful moral tale...exotic book.' - Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4; 'Here is Shusha Guppy doing what she does so well - recreating and so preserving, for English-reading audiences, the bewitching worlds of Persian folklore and fairy tales which continue to engage young and old alike.' - Eastern Art Report

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