the mechanism often feels disengaged with science or the future. Shalaby’s time traveler, for instance, just bumbles in and out of different periods. The Time Travels, like many works of serious 20th century Arabic lit, tends to be more interested in Egypt’s past than her future.
Ibn Shalaby, like many Egyptians, is looking for a job. Yet, unlike most of his fellow citizens, he is prone to sudden dislocations in time. Armed with his trusty briefcase and his Islamic-calendar wristwatch, he bounces uncontrollably through Egypt's rich and varied past, with occasional return visits to the 1990s.
Through his wild and whimsical adventures, he meets, befriends, and falls out with sultans, poets, and an assortment of celebrities-from Naguib Mahfouz to the founder of the city of Cairo. Khairy Shalaby's nimble storytelling brings this witty odyssey to life.