Alaa Al Aswany’s empathy and perceptive detail in this novel about the An actual downtown Cairo landmark called the Yacoubian Building is. The Yacoubian Building [Alaa Al Aswany] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Yacoubian Building. : The Yacoubian Building: A Novel (): Alaa Al Aswany: Books.

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Review: The Yacoubian Building by Alaa al Aswany | Books | The Guardian

Though Abduh, an illiterate family man from rural Egypt, appears to have consensually entered into a relationship with Hatim, a refined editor of a newspaper, it is never clear whether he is in it for pleasure or by necessity. It is also only as of late that authors and filmmakers have begun to examine the omnipotent presence of religion in their society.

The stories of each of the primary characters are often intertwined, at times colliding or converging with one another.

Views Read Edit View history. There’s a lot of sex in the novel, too — including such colourful descriptions as: Mahfouz set his novel in a poor working-class district, seeking to portray the changes wrought by the second world war, and the British Eighth Army, to sexual morals and long-lived social traditions.

For the eponymous film, see The Yacoubian Building film. It has been translated into 23 languages. Fiction Alaa al-Aswany reviews. Built in the s, the building was an “architectural gem” that housed “the cream of society”, but it underwent considerable change over the decades that followed. If the characters, good and bad, educated or not, have a quality in common, it buildnig a sort of big-city sophistication.

On the roof of the ten-story building are fifty small rooms one for each apartmentno more than two meters by two meters in area, which were buillding used as storage areas and not as living quarters for human beings, but after wealthy residents began moving from downtown Cairo to suburbs such as Medinet Nasr and Mohandessin in the s, the rooms were gradually taken over by overwhelmingly poor migrants from the Egyptian countryside, arriving in Cairo in the hopes of finding employment.

The veil of power is intact. Following that zlaa, The Yacoubian Building is filled with sexual harassment, promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia, all described in graphic detail. Builidng Yacoubian Building – UK.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. It is undoubtedly this groundbreaking literary rendition of Egyptian realism, served with a heavy dose of humor, buildong has made the book such a hit with the local audience yaacoubian years runningand that, despite the awkward translation in parts, renders it an entertaining and revelatory read for those intrigued by Egyptian culture.


Big-shot lawyer Kamal el Fouli and his cohort, Hagg Azzam, in whose favor El Fouli rigs the People’s Assembly vote, pepper their wheeling and dealing with “God willing,” and justify their actions aswnay implying that they are but implementing God’s will: Was this intentional irony on the part of Al Aswany?

Corruption — moral and otherwise — is endemic, and the authorities, in particular, do not come off well. Yet Aswany is so good-natured that even his terrorist is allowed to enjoy, before his martyrdom, a paradisial marriage portrayed in the shimmering palette of gihadi bad taste.

Hatim Rasheed is an intellectual, the editor of a leading newspaper, and a homosexual. The Yacoubian Building is the sort of dense neighbourhood novel which, though quite out of style when set in London or Paris, has been revived for the banlieue of downtown Cairo. Egyptian novels novels Arabic-language novels in fiction Novels set in Cairo. The Yacoubian Building follows the lives of several of the residents. Taha’s failure to become a policeman also marks the beginning of a growing rift between him and his beloved, Busayna.

Even men are reduced to a form of semi-prostitution. In this scathing critique of contemporary Egypt, one is hard put to find a redeemable character.

The Yacoubian Building unfolds in the former European quarter downtown at the time of the Gulf war. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

ywcoubian Other characters include Hagg Azzam, who runs for and wins a seat in the People’s Assembly — believing that this will give him even greater power and the opportunity to make an enormous amount of money without realising that by accepting the help of those who put him in this position he has essentially sold his soul to the devil and is at their mercy.

She learns that if she wants to keep her job she has to put up with the very unwanted attentions of her boss; after getting repeatedly fired, she finally gives in, letting shopkeeper Talal rub up against her and play with her body The Yacoubian Building – Canada.

And there is Hatim Rasheed, the homosexual newspaper editor, whose lover Abduh has a wife and child and is torn between the money being Hatim’s boy-toy means and the buulding of sinning in this way.

A street in the sky

The Yacoubian Building Arabic: Little gets done in Al Aswany’s Egypt without wastabribery. Our Lord created the Egyptians to accept government authority.

The book was made into a film of the same name in and into a TV series in But instead of ending his book with an explosive bang, one that might leave an indelible mark on the reader, the novelist chooses to keep things light, resorting to a Hollywood-style finale, where everything ties up nicely and happily. Mahfouz always doubted whether virtue could survive on an empty stomach. He has had days of pain and distress when he was driven to defile himself with criminal types and the scum of society in order to pick out from among them a lover with whom to satisfy his need for just alaq night, never to be seen again.


The novel described the Yacoubian Building as one alaaa the most luxurious and prestigious apartment blocks in Cairo following its construction by Armenian businessman Hagop Yacoubian inwith government ministers, wealthy manufacturers, and foreigners residing or working out of offices there.

The rooftop community, effectively a slum neighborhood, is symbolic of the urbanization of Egypt and of the burgeoning population growth in its large cities in recent decades, especially among the poor and working classes. The mounting pressure of life down-at- the-heels leads to more than one act of violence and Al Aswany sswany builds up the narrative to the boiling point.

The book focuses mainly on the residents of the Yacoubian building, a once-chic but now buulding edifice that acts as yaciubian metaphor for Cairo’s own deterioration. The moment you take power, they submit to you and grovel to you and you can do what you want with them.

The Yacoubian Building

Taha doesn’t despair completely yacougian first and enrolls at university, but it’s not surprising that Al Aswany has him marked for a downward spiral that leads him to Islamic radicalism and, ultimately, violence. But now that this highly popular and controversial book is being made into a big-budget Egyptian film, one can’t help but wonder if the author’s cinematic-like approach was not a calculated decision all along.

Nearer at hand, it stands midway between the foundation novel of Egyptian Arabic, Naguib Mahfouz’s Zaqaq al Midaq Midaq Alley, and the modern Egyptian television serial. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

Taha el Shazli, the son of the doorman, has his heart set on becoming a policeman, but though he does brilliantly at school and meets all the requirements, he is rejected because of his background. Retrieved from ” https: While more concerned with everyday survival and comforts than the faith Taha begins rhe, she too is affected by the prevailing corrupt conditions — in her case, the way men treat women.