“Good storytellers are like good wine—the older the better!”
The aforementioned sentence came from the last paragraph of The Storyteller by Rafik Schami. This short story was taken from his novel, Damascus Nights and reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventh Annual Collection published in September 1994.
I’ve been reading from various anthologies and came across this delightful story about a woman named Leila. She told stories for a living and had the power to captivate everyone (including a monster) with her storytelling prowess. The story chronicled her journey across the Middle East and the determination to tell stories no matter the circumstances.
The Storyteller read like an adult fairy tale and revealed a thoughtful message about what brings a person joy despite the societal attempts to place Lelia in a familiar position that would have made everyone else comfortable. Reading this short story brought out the importance of storytelling and how essential it is for human beings. Leila reminded me of Eva Luna from Isabel Allende’s wonderful novel that covered a similar theme as this story. Highly recommended, and I plan to read Damascus Nights in the future.