Utopia is an interesting novel by Ahmed Khaled Towfik and it is quite an interesting look at a dystopian setting and it utilizes the narrator and some of the themes to really explore the idea of how a society would function in that kind of environment and the kind of people that it would ultimately end up creating, but also that people can still be different (to a degree). And the biggest theme it explores that stands out to me is that such an environment will typically result in stagnancy because there is a lack of certain components of society due to “motivation through competition” not existing in the same capacity that it exists in our real world (at least in first world countries).
It’s interesting to view the story at the beginning through the viewpoint of a character who doesn’t have as many redeeming qualities as you’d expect of a flawed narrator but through him we get the a sort of look how a typical utopian would probably act in this setting having been brought up in the manner that they have. There’s a place where he brings up stagnancy in the book and how the walled off society is a victim to it. “There’s nothing new to stimulate your curiosity or your enthusiasm in Utopia. Nothing changes.” (Towfik, 11). It’s interesting to see that a society that is built with the idea of having the ideal has such a glaring flaw and the book has to really present that as one of it’s themes.
While this may not be the first time that a setting such as the one presented in Utopia has been explored, it is quite interesting to see a different cultural take on it and how it is quite similar and quite different than other stories that explore the same concept. It’s quite an interesting read.
– Bhavin Bhavsar