Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Yacoubians hus by Ala Aswani

Yacoubians hus (original 2002; edition 2007)

by Ala Aswani

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,524774,831 (3.59)206
Title:Yacoubians hus
Authors:Ala Aswani
Info:Hr. Ferdinand, 2007
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (2002)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 206 mentions

English (49)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Dutch (3)  Danish (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Galician (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Good, sad depiction of a cross-section of Egyptian society. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
My book club selected this book. It's an interesting look at modern-day Egyptian culture / society. The confusing case of characters made it difficult for me to read, though. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 16, 2016 |
The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany - good

This is the book that has delayed my review writing as I'm just not sure what to say about it and I've been dithering for a month or so.

This is kind of like an Egyptian Soap Opera well not an Egyptian style Soap opera but a British style soap opera set in Cairo (two very different styles of soap iykwim).

The Yacoubian building is divided into apartments that the well-to-do and middle class rent, but on the roof there are a number of storage areas that have been steadily converted into shanty style dwellings for their servants and various lower class people. The book follows the intertwining lives of these inhabitants.

The reason I'm struggling to put my thoughts to 'paper' is that although I think the book is well written and interesting - the convoluted plot kept me entertained - I became quite uncomfortable with various plot lines. I love Egypt and all the people I've met on my travels there have been lovely. This Egypt I didn't like. The oppression of the poor, the corruption, the treatment of women - and as for a women who is poor.... This was published in 2002 and I would love to think that 12 years later this might have changed but, sad to say, I think it may have improved for men but for women it is probably worse.

I've been meaning to read Cairo by Ahdaf Soueif, I need to do so soon - maybe that will give me more hope!
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Any Egyptian novelist writing today is liable to be compared to Nobel-prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, although Alaa Al Aswany's status as a public intellectual does not require a comparison with anyone. Still, his depiction of the characters in the Yacoubian Building, at least as translated into English by Humphrey Davies, bears a similarity to Mahfouz's approach in the books of his that I can recall: the characters are depicted fairly flatly; their emotional states are named and shown; their motives are sometimes complex but never ambiguous. One way in which the Yacoubian Building is quite different from Mahfouz' novels: Al Aswany is interested in the way people's characters shape their lives, but, at least in this book, he doesn't have any of Mahfouz' focus on how traits are handed down in families across the generations. For Al Aswany, the passing of decades is prior to the story, and is a record of social and politial change for the worse, not about family continuity.

The Yacoubian Building starts slowly, with interesting character sketches, but no compelling plot - but then the story begins to pick up after about 60 pages. The social commentary - on politial corruption, on economic oppression, on sexual double standards - is implicit but strong. The treatment of Islamic extremism is particularly interesting: sympathetic, in that a key character's turn toward extremism is presented as a perfectly coherent response to Egyptian society's corruption and lack of social mobility, and the extremists themselves are ethical, honorable people; but extremism is also presented as a self-destructive dead end. More generally, the book is underpinned with a clear sense of a moral order. Characters can cause each other a great deal of unmerited grief, but most if not all the characters eventually suffer (or more rarely, enjoy) outcomes that, however random on the surface, are an outgrowth of their choices to treat others well or poorly. In that sense, while the story can be read as a liberal critique of the grief caused traditional religious and social mores (as well as by personal greed), it affirms rather than subverts a progressive, culturally (not theologically) Islamic worldview. ( )
  bezoar44 | Aug 17, 2015 |
The Yacoubian Building written by Alaa AL Aswany is the story of the residents of a 'faded glory' building in downtown Cairo. Living in the main building itself, there is Zaki Bey el Dessouki, an aging playboy, who's main concern is his next female conquest and his one legged servant Abaskharon. Then there's Hatim Rasheed, the editor in chief of a french newspaper in Cairo and an eccentric homosexual. Finally there's Hagg Muhammad Azzam, a corrupt, drug dealing, businessman who wants to enter politics and is willing to bribe his way in. On the roof living in tiny rooms is another level of society. Taha el Shazli is a dedicated student making good grades but is rejected by the Police Academy because his father is a doorman. Busayna is a graduate of the Commercial College and is overwhelmed by the overt sexual harassment in the workplace. Malak is a shirtmaker by trade and relentless is his pursuit of property on the roof. Finally, there is Abd Rabbuh, the lover of Hatim.

The characters are all extremely flawed, which makes them believable. Even so, the author sucks the reader into their stories. There are twists and turns that reflect the current politics and ideals in Cairo. It is an interesting book and worth reading, but don't look for too many happy endings. ( )
  ElizabethBraun | Apr 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alaa Al Aswanyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alibek, PiusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, HumphreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Awards and honors
To My Guardian Angel - Iman Taymur
First words
The distance between Baehler Passage, where Zaki Bey el Dessouki lives, and his office in the Yacoubian Building is not more than a hundred meters, but it takes him an hour to cover it each morning as he is obliged to greet his friends on the street.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Original title: 'Imarat Ya'qubyan
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060878134, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:16 -0400)

The lives and fortunes of the inhabitants of the Yacoubian Building, a once elegant, Art Deco apartment building in the heart of downtown Cairo, intertwine as the destinies of a fading aristocrat, voluptuous siren, devout young doorman, secretly gay newspaper editor, roof- squatting tailor, and corrupt politician come together.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
9 avail.
70 wanted
4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.59)
1 10
1.5 1
2 23
2.5 20
3 118
3.5 48
4 176
4.5 12
5 54

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 107,574,541 books! | Top bar: Always visible