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Tokyo Cancelled

by Rana Dasgupta

A modern Arabian nights told by travellers stranded at an airport. Effectively short stories set in the modern world. Familiar settings but with a fantastic (literally) edge. Since the teller is different each time you never know what is coming next and even the linking sections hint at a climax in the tellers’ world.

Extract

When Bernard awoke it was just light; and he felt strangled.

New shoots had grown entirely around him in the night, and he could not move. They grew around his neck and legs; they enfolded his upper body, pinning his arms to his sides. By this time there was sprouting from Fareed a mass of creepers and flower that enchanted people in all the adjacent enclosures with their glorious scent.

'Fareed!' Bernard whispered anxiously. 'Help me! I have been trapped by the plant. It has grown around me. I have to cut the roots. Break them. Help me!'

He tried to wake Fareed but the old man was delirious and could not take any notice.

Parallels

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Arabian Nights
  •  

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