The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany

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This controversial bestselling novel in the Arab world reveals the political corruption, sexual repression, religious extremism, and modern hopes of Egypt today.

All manner of flawed and fragile humanity reside in the Yacoubian Building, a once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor now slowly decaying in the smog and bustle of downtown Cairo: a fading aristocrat and self-proclaimed "scientist of women"; a sultry, voluptuous siren; a devout young student, feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism; a newspaper editor helplessly in love with a policeman; a corrupt and corpulent politician, twisting the Koran to justify his desires.

These disparate lives careen toward an explosive conclusion in Alaa Al Aswany's remarkable international bestseller. Teeming with frank sexuality and heartfelt compassion, this book is an important window on to the experience of loss and love in the Arab world.


About Alaa Al Aswany

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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.
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 272 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Yacoubian Building

The New York Times

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Alaa Al Aswany’s empathy and perceptive detail in this novel about the inhabitants of a Cairo apartment building yield a credible evocation of the making of a terrorist.

Aug 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Yacoubian Building

The Guardian

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The student's joy at his 'new, powerful, bounding spirit' and the 'fabulous, authentic and pure' atmosphere of the mosque are rendered without sensationalism or irony, which is all the more creditable given Islamists' fraught relations with liberal Egyptian intellectuals such as al Aswany.

Feb 17 2007 | Read Full Review of The Yacoubian Building

The Guardian

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Nearer at hand, it stands midway between the foundation novel of Egyptian Arabic, Naguib Mahfouz's Zaqaq al Midaq (Midaq Alley, 1947) and the modern Egyptian television serial.

Feb 16 2007 | Read Full Review of The Yacoubian Building

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

AMAZON READER RATING: from 55 readers PUBLISHER: Harper Perennial (August 1, 2006) REVIEWER: Mary Whipple AMAZON PAGE: The Yacoubian Building AUTHOR WEBSITE: Wikipedia page on Alaa Al Aswany EXTRAS: Excerpt and an interview MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: More books centered around a b...

Jul 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Yacoubian Building

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Bobby Grover

Bobby Grover 2 Dec 2013

Requested a 15 min summary of the book