The Kathasaritsagara - the ocean of stories - is among the world's great story collections, truly an ocean that carries the reader on its gentle swell to shores far and near, to places known and imagined, to people familiar and strange.
Drawing from earlier collections of tales, the Kathasaritsagara was composed in Sanskrit by Somadeva in eleventh-century Kashmir. In a period and a language still largely dominated by religious texts, the Kathasaritsagara is a breath of fresh air. No set of beliefs dominates, no sacred texts are glorified - what it revels in most is the pulsating carnival of human life and experience.
Priests and monks, gamblers and courtesans, kings and bandits, merchants and housewives, talking animals, divine and demonic beings - all cavort through its pages, in cities and forests, across seas and on islands. And in Arshia Sattar's masterful translation, the many universes of adventure the Kathasaritsagara holds within itself come alive for a new generation of readers.
My very favourite collection of stories - Wendy Doniger