A “rollicking, rambunctious, compulsively readable comic novel”
"Gretchen McCullough has written a wild ride through Cairo and Beyond, a rollicking adventure tale peopled with grifters, reprobates, scalawags, and scoundrels—plus a few femmes fatale tossed in to keep things teetering on chaos. I couldn’t put it down!" -Tom Lutz, Portraits: Moments of Intimacy on the Road, Founder of the Los Angeles Review of Books
CONFESSIONS OF A KNIGHT ERRANT: DRIFTERS, THIEVES, AND ALI BABA'S TREASURE (Cune Press, 2022) is a comedic, picaresque novel in the tradition of Don Quixote with a flamboyant cast of characters. Dr. Gary Watson is the picaro, a radical environmentalist and a wannabe novelist who has been accused of masterminding a computer hack that wiped out the files of a major publishing company. His Sancho Panza is Kharalombos, a fat, gluttonous Greek dancing teacher, who is wanted by the secret police for cavorting with the daughter of the Big Man of Egypt. Self-preservation necessitates a hurried journey to the refuge of a girls’ camp in rural Texas. Then a body turns up nearby that is connected to Middle East antiquities, and they are on the run once more.
Gretchen McCullough was raised in Harlingen, Texas. After graduating from Brown University in 1984, she taught in Egypt, Turkey, and Japan. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama and was awarded a teaching Fulbright to Syria from 1997-1999.
Her stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The Barcelona Review, Archipelago, National Public Radio, Story South, Guernica, The Common, The Millions, and the LA Review of Books. Translations in English and Arabic have been published in: Nizwa, Banipal, Brooklyn Rail in Translation, World Literature Today and Washington Square Review with Mohamed Metwalli. Her bi-lingual book of short stories in English and Arabic, Three Stories from Cairo, translated with Mohamed Metwalli was published in July 2011 by AFAQ Publishing House, Cairo. A collection of short stories about expatriate life in Cairo, Shahrazad’s Tooth, was also published by AFAQ in 2013.
Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition at the American University in Cairo.
What others are saying about Confessions of a Knight Errant:
Few literary works have dealt with the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 as well as this novel did, whether in Arabic or English, by the American author, Gretchen McCullough. McCullough survived the events of the uprising at Tahrir Square—the novel focuses on a group of expatriates who stayed in the country. It would appeal to the lovers of detective novels as much as it would appeal to wacky fantasy lovers and uses literary humor, which is emphasized in a alleged message by Colonel Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. The reader might share the author’s sarcasm about overwhelming globalization and the American Lifestyle, whose advocates want to impose it on the rest of the world. Wait! It’s not just that. The reader might get free lessons in the art of cooking.
--Sonallah Ibrahim, Egyptian novelist
This rollicking, rambunctious, compulsively readable comic novel follows the adventures of our narrator, Gary, a would-be writer, professor, rebel environmentalist, and accused cyber-terrorist on the run, as he encounters characters galore, from Cairo, Egypt, to a girls’ summer camp in Texas. Along the way are murder, drugs, stolen antiquities, arson, sexual hijinks, and various international conspiracies that add up to a roller-coaster ride for the reader and, perhaps, some resolution for Gary as he takes on various identities, ponders his life, and ask, “Could we ever see ourselves as others saw us?”
--Jennifer Horne, Poet Laureate of Alabama
Confessions of a Knight Errant
ISBN-9781951082444, 240 pages
October 18, 2022