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The Journey of Ibn Fattouma by Naguib…

The Journey of Ibn Fattouma

by Naguib Mahfouz

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Showing 4 of 4
It's not the Arabian Nights, and (fortunately) it's not Pilgrim's Progess. Instead, the Journey of Ibn Fattouma is a fable in memoir form, told by a devout Muslim whose travels take him from his Islamic homeland to a series of countries governed by other ideologies: tribalism; absolute monarchy (as per Saudi Arabia); capitalist democracy (as per the United States); and authoritarian communism (as per the Soviet Union; the book was published in 1983. At each place, Ibn Fattouma critiques the moral failures of the dominant ideology, but has to acknowledge that even in his own country, Islamic values are more honored in the breach than the observance. Ibn Fattouma hopes to visit the famed land of Gebel ('Mountain', which appears to be a figure for a true religious utopia), and then to return to his homeland to share what he has learned, and hopefully reform its corruption. In a way, the sequence follows a classic Marxist typology of societies; hence, capitalism comes before communism, and the deep flaw of capitalist democracy - beyond a commitment to personal freedom even where that conflicts directly with Islamic teachings - is its imperialism, which shows its commitment to freedom is a kind of hypocrisy. But the penultimate stop - Ghuroub - seems in contrast to the other countries to embody a kind of inward-turning mysticism. It's far from clear what exactly Mahfouz himself thinks of the societies Ibn Fattouma encounters - the structure of the book gives him double deniability - it's just a fantasy, and it's all Ibn Fattouma's thoughts, not necessarily the author's. But it is an interesting, not exactly pro-Western take on political and social philosophy. ( )
  bezoar44 | Dec 27, 2015 |
A compact fable, published in 1983, with the universal-in-the-particular feel of The Thousand and One Nights or The Caravan of Dreams. A young man loses his lover to the caprices of power and decides to take a journey to the land of Gebel, renowned for the contentment of its people. Along the way, and through a succession of other cities, he encounters a variety of social forms and political regimes, each believed by the local people to be the pinnacle of human achievement. Adventure, philosophy, and cultural critique in a short novel by a great writer. ( )
  HectorSwell | Jun 3, 2014 |
enriched list and description by Mahfouz for what you can say the adventurtes of "Ibn Fattouma". ( )
  kh_ibrahim77 | Aug 3, 2007 |
An interesting fable, really makes one examine the world around you, both immediately and from afar. I suspect this is one book that won't get the wide and important readership it really deserves. ( )
  stillbeing | Feb 23, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385423349, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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. --Publisher.

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