The Journey of Ibn Fattouma
This is a book review of the quest tale “The Journey of Ibn Fattouma.”
This paper is an analysis of a story in the form of a quest, “The Journey of Ibn Fattouma.” The author finds that this literary journey becomes increasingly metaphorical as the story progresses and that Fattouma, the protagonist, has by the end of the book come to understand himself better as a man and has found his soul even though he has supposedly not found love.
“It has been argued that there is only one story, that of the quest, the seeking after something that is either lost or that was never obtained to begin with. Quest tales do of course differ from each other in important ways. There are great differences among the heroes and villains who set out in search of something, and what it is that they are searching for changes the nature of the story at least as much as does the character of the traveler. And then there is the important distinction between those quests that are successful and those that are not although to this a third category of stories must be added, which is the kind of quest that may or may not have been successful, but either the reader or the seeker does not know if the goal has been obtained.Nagib Mahfouz’s The Journey of Ibn Fattouma is certainly a story in the form of a quest. It is must transparently about a quest in that it takes the form of a story about a journey. This literal journey (as is true in all good quest stories) becomes increasingly metaphorical as the story progresses, and Fattouma’s traveling becomes by the end of the novel a symbol and a way of understanding many different things. The protagonist has by the end of the book come to understand himself better as a man and as an individual and he has also come to a fuller understanding of what it means to be a person of faith who is guided by the complexities of making moral choices along the path of life.”