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.
by Naguib Mahfouz
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