The Yacoubian Building

The Yacoubian Building

Book - 2006
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August Book Sense Pick

A fading aristocrat and self-proclaimed 'scientist of women.' A purring, voluptuous siren. A young shop-girl enduring the clammy touch of her boss and hating herself for accepting the modest banknotes he tucks into her pocket afterward. An earnest, devout young doorman, feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism. A cynical, secretly gay newspaper editor, helplessly in love with a peasant security guard. A roof-squatting tailor, scheming to own property. A corrupt and corpulent politician, twisting the Koran to justify taking a mistress.

All live in the Yacoubian Building, a once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor slowly decaying in the smog and hubbub of downtown Cairo, Egypt. In the course of this unforgettable novel, these disparate lives converge, careening inexorably toward an explosive conclusion. Tragicomic, passionate, shockingly frank in its sexuality, and brimming with an extraordinary, embracing human compassion, The Yacoubian Building is a literary achievement of the first order.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2006.
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9780060878139
Branch Call Number: ASW
Characteristics: 255 pages


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Jun 28, 2013

Very good writing, fast-paced, tremendous insight into contemporary Egyptian life.

Jun 23, 2013

This best-selling Egyptian author is translated from Arabic. The book is set in modern Egypt, a snapshot of time just before the Arab Spring. The multiple story lines masterfully woven together reveal complex Egyptian society, narrowly focused and restricted by social customs. One wonders how the author would react to the Muslim Brotherhood's grip on the government, and their all too familiar activities meant to consolidate and make permanent their power.

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