In this provocative and dreamy parable, a young man disillusioned by the corruption of his homeland sets out on a quest to find Gebel, the land of perfection, from which no one has ever returned. On his way, Ibn Fattouma passes through a series of very different lands--realms where the moon is worshipped, where marriage does not exist, where kings are treated like gods, and where freedom, toleration, and justice are alternately held as the highest goods. All of these places, however, are inevitably marred by the specter of war, and Ibn Fattouma finds himself continually driven onward, ever seeking. Like the protagonists of A Pilgrim's Progress and Gulliver's Travels, Naguib Mahfouz's hero travels not through any recognizable historical landscape, but through timeless aspects of human possibility.
"The sheen of the Arabian Nights lends a magical glow to this resonant fable." --Boston Globe
"A morality play extolling the virtues of tolerance and understanding." --Los Angeles Times
"The Journey of Ibn Fattouma is captivating in its simplicity." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Mahfouz's pithy parable mocks the hypocrisy of nations that wage war and maintain empire in the name of brotherhood and freedom." --Publishers Weekly
"A slender, magical parable of idealism and compromise through a stylized Middle East odyssey." --Kirkus Reviews
"A dreamy fable. . . . The arful mood of languor and Mahfouz's exactness of expression ensure that it will be well received." --Booklist
"As enchanting a tale as any he has written." --Library Journal