Arabian Nights of 1934
240 pp., 6 x 8 in, 20 b&w illus.
- Published: June 13, 2023
- Publisher: Terra Nova Press
A genre-bending novel of 1001 nights of no-holds-barred, pre-code American movies distilled into a single fevered dreamworld.
Arabian Nights of 1934 is a journey through the fevered dreamworld embodied in American movies of the early 1930s: an era that closed abruptly with the enforcement of the Production Code in July 1934. It distills a thousand and one nights of Depression-era movie-going—plotlines, closeups, cityscapes, wisecracks, backchat, and frantic outbursts—into a haunting parallel life, the stories bleeding into one another as they did in the minds of the viewers whom they helped sustain.
Two of those viewers, it so happens, are O'Brien's own parents in their restless youth—one impatient to experience the world beyond the screen, one ready to take it on—and the glimpse we're afforded into the darkened theaters of their minds frames the book with an act of imagination at once tender and audacious.