The Journey of Ibn Fattouma Paperback – 1 Nov 1993
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Praise for Naguib Mahfouz:
"The greatest writer in one of the most widely understood languages in the world, a storyteller of the first order in any idiom." Vanity Fair
"A Dickens of the Cairo cafes." Newsweek
"The incredible variety of Naguib Mahfouz's writings continue to dazzle our eyes." The Washington Post
"Naguib Mahfouz virtually invented the novel as an Arab form.He excels at fusing deep emotion and soap opera." The New York Times Book Review
"Mahfouz's work is freshly nuanced and hauntingly lyrical.The Nobel Prize acknowledges the universal significance of his fiction." Los Angeles Times Book Review"
"The sheen of the Arabian Nights lends a magical glow to this resonant fable." --Boston Globe
"Amorality 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
From the Inside Flap
In this pithy, powerful parable, the masterly Naguib Mahfouz explores life's secrets and the mysterious maze of the human heart--a mystical and lyrical "Pilgrim's Progress set in a mythical, timeless Middle East.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Excellently crafted characters with a delicate bitter-sweet twist. Sit back and follow Ibn Fattouma in your mind as he crosses several countries and you won't want to put this down.
Reminiscent of Marco Polo or Mr Palomar by Calvino - but with far fewer countries and much greater depth to the way he paints the character of their inhabitants.
Quindil's long journey to Gebel will take him to different countries: the land of Mashriq, land of Haira, land of Halba, land of Aman and land of Ghuroub. Each of these countries shows social and political institutions similar to the ones we know, be it a kingdom, a democracy or a totalitarian regime and with much humour Mr Mahfouz depicts in a fairytale like prose the absurdities of each system.
The last chapter is called The Beginning because after visiting five lands, Gebel finally comes into view far in the distance on top of the Green Mountain and Quindil is about to ascend its winding path.
This book is a magnificent political parable, exemplified by the tragic destiny of one man and his household.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
He encountered war and injustice everywhere he went. At the Land of Ghoroub which is similar to (Buddhism)her realised that all imperfection resides in the essence of every human being that shows outwardly in our daily conduct with others and consequently breeds hatered, wars and injustice. Meditation or turning our conscious inwardly enables us to discover our pure ellement and become enlightend. Our outer world depends mainly on our inner realization of our oneness with everything and everyone else, and we don't have to go anywhere to in search of Utopia.
The Land of Gebel is the ultimate goal or Salvation. It is upward passage, individual, without any companion or guidance of any kind except your inner light. Anyone could reach salvation like Ibn Fattouma's wife who was from a primitive land, pagan and uneducated only through suffering.
The book is simble, easy read, lucid style and a prove that "simplicity is the seal of truth", therfore I recommend it and deservs five stars.
I won't go into details since the book is easily read and understood. However, I will say that I appreciated how his brief observations and experiences gave a clear and impressive understanding of the world through the eyes of a Muslim. At least, not being a Muslim, that's what I felt. The ending at first had me confused until I grasped that Ibn Fattouma had already found what he needed to know about his paradise by realizing what it wasn't.
Readers who enjoyed the Cairo Trilogy, a series of three realistic novels, and who want to sample Mafouz' more iridescent writing should not start with this book. That written, The Journey of Ibn Fattouma does have things to offer those interested in political science, false utopias, or even fledgling democracies.
Others reviews on the page have eloquently captured the different societies that Ibn Fattouma visits on his journey to Gebel. I wondered throughout the book if this was a parable for the Tower of Babel, a story found in the Christian Old Testament, the Hebrew Talmud and the Muslim Koran. In the story as I know it, God punished the Summerians for building a tower to heaven because they were trying to become God, or at least outshine him. The Tower becomes a symbol for perfection, and like many perfections, an unobtainable one. Thus, it was interesting to me that after Ibn Fattouma visits all these supposedly perfect societies Haira, Halba, Aman ('hope' in Arabic), he finally reaches Gebel, situated on a mountain.
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