In this provocative and dreamyparable, a young man disillusioned by the corruption of his homelandsets out on a quest to findGebel, the land of perfection, from which no one has ever returned. On his way, Ibn Fattouma passes through a series of very differentlands--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 marredby the specter of war, and Ibn Fattouma finds himself continually driven onward, ever seeking.Like the protagonists ofA Pilgrim's Progressand Gulliver's Travels, NaguibMahfouz's hero travels not through any recognizable historical landscape, but through timeless aspects ofhumanpossibility.
About the Author
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. His nearly forty novels and hundreds of short stories range from re-imaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was the first writer in Arabic to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in August 2006.