Item description for The Yacoubian Building by Ala Aswani & Humphrey T. Davies...
The Yacoubian Building holds all that Egypt was and has become over the 75 years since its namesake was built on one of downtown Cairo's main boulevards. From the pious son of the building's doorkeeper and the raucous, impoverished squatters on its roof, via the tattered aristocrat and the gay intellectual in its apartments, to the ruthless businessman whose stores occupy its ground floor, each sharply etched character embodies a facet of modern Egypt - one where political corruption, ill-gotten wealth, and religious hypocrisy are natural allies, where the arrogance and defensiveness of the powerful find expression in the exploitation of the weak, where youthful idealism can turn quickly to extremism, and where an older, less violent version of society may yet prevail. Alaa Al Aswany's novel caused an unprecedented stir when it was first published in 2002 and has remained the world's best selling novel in the Arabic language.
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Studio: American University in Cairo Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2005
Publisher American University in Cairo Press
ISBN 9774248627 ISBN13 9789774248627
Availability 2 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 09:24.
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More About Ala Aswani & Humphrey T. Davies
Alaa Al Aswany is the internationally bestselling author of "The Yacoubian Building" and "Chicago". A journalist who writes a controversial opposition column, Al Aswany makes his living as a dentist in Cairo.
Alaa Al Aswany currently resides in Cairo. Alaa Al Aswany was born in 1957.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Yacoubian Building?
moving and complex Apr 16, 2008
with few characters, the author depicts contemporean Cairo with a palette of nuances: tragic, nostalgic, cruel and soft at the same time.
An interesting slice of Cairo life Mar 25, 2008
Al Aswany populates the Yacoubian Building with a set of socially diverse characters and then relates a set of stories involving various residents. This device allows him to create a portrait of life in Cairo; the injustices suffered by the poor, the corruption of the elite, the political and economic realities of a repressed society and the way religion is used by different players to achieve their purposes.
The main characters are each introduced in some detail and because there are a large number of them, this means that lengthy digressions into the background of characters are still taking place halfway through the book. This tends to almost bog the narrative down in places. The other disadvantage of having so many central characters is that it makes it difficult to develop them in any real way. Though a number of them do emerge by the end of the book as having the necessary depth to make them interesting, others remain close to being stereotypes. The novel is an interesting slice of modern Cairo life and as such is a rewarding read, but it doesn't quite ever become totally engrossing.
The World of Cairo Mar 22, 2008
Reading literature about a particular city gives you insight into the mores and character of that community. This is true of Alaa Al Aswany's novel from 2002, The Yacoubian Building (ImaratYa'qubyan). I found the novel both well written and structured. Using the title building as his center Aswany portrays a diverse group of contemporary Cairenes to demonstrate the experience of living in the world of Egypt today. The author presents the issues of political corruption, class conflict and the "science" of love in a believable narrative; however, I found his portrayal of homosexuality less effective: sensitive at times but ultimately concluding with a stereotypically brutal end for the spurned lover. The difficulties of living in this society are highlighted as the novel moves smoothly from episode to episode building toward a climax that, while somewhat melodramatic, brings the story to an effective conclusion. Overall the complex narrative and view of the city of Cairo made this an engaging and satisfying read.
Fascinating portrayal of life in modern Egypt Jan 26, 2008
With characters from various backgrounds peppering the novel, this was a great "slice of life" of modern Egypt. It was fascinating to see the characters, linked by this one place, how they interconnected and how culture and religion impacted their lives. The reader is instantly transported into another world in reading the novel, and it is truly a memorable journey.
Beautiful Egyptian novel Jan 7, 2008
Aswany's fine prose makes this book more an epic slice of life in Cairo than the soap opera it might otherwise threaten to be. If you are looking for a novel to read while traveling in Cairo, this is the perfect choice.