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Yacoubians hus by Ala Aswani
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Yacoubians hus (original 2002; edition 2007)

by Ala Aswani

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1,415715,346 (3.58)190
Member:katnys
Title:Yacoubians hus
Authors:Ala Aswani
Info:Hr. Ferdinand, 2007
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (2002)

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» See also 190 mentions

English (44)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Dutch (4)  Danish (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
I would actually have liked to give The Yacoubian Building 3.5 stars: I more than liked it, though I'm not sure yet if I really liked it. I found it difficult reading at first because the tone held me at a distance (and something I want to think about more is how to locate the narrator, or the narration, in relation to the characters and in relation to some of the attitudes on display). There's a kind of bluntness or lack of nuance in the telling of the stories. But by the end of the novel I found I was very engaged with all of the stories and by the overall sense you get of seeing a microcosm of a complex, conflicting and conflicted society dominated by a paradoxical and often toxic combination of greed, corruption, and love (or the longing for love). Fuller comments to come on the blog--as well as discussion at this month's Slaves of Golconda session.
  rmaitzen | Feb 7, 2014 |
Author is dentist in Cairo writing about an office building....book scandalous at the time because of its sexual frankness...now widely translated and a movie....great read
  wcbookclub | Jan 15, 2014 |
Egypt is in the news today for all the wrong reasons. But when I witness the turmoil there, I perceive a silver lining: this is the birth pain of a true democracy.

I have had a lifelong love affair with Egypt, ever since I studied about pharaohs and the pyramids and hieroglyphics in middle school. I have seen the similarity with India, the paradox of being immensely rich culturally and dirt poor monetarily. Visiting the country had been my secret dream, which was realised three years ago.

I read this novel before visiting Egypt: and after my visit, I could only marvel at how Aswany has succeeded in bringing the multifaceted country under one roof, that of the Yacoubian building. Capturing the macrocosm in the microcosm, when done by gifted writers, produces wonders.

I am increasing my rating from 3 to 4 stars on second thoughts.

I pray the events in Egypt, for all the tragedy and angst, end on a positive note - like the novel. ( )
  Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
Women are only of interest for their sexual utility. It's not that the female characters don't have well, character, and they even have stories though every story of theirs is about men, it's just that from the point of view of the male characters they are sexually useful, mothers or harpies. It puts a girl off.

Unrated because both two and three stars are correct. With the caveat above, I recommend the book.

1 August 2011
This book has not faded from my mind. What I see with some small distance is what I think was the point, that no-one's life is left alone by government corruption. Everyone's life is worse because of it.

  veracite | Apr 5, 2013 |
Al Aswany uses a building as the organizing principle of this well populated book. Each character inhabits a different part of the building and lives a different thread of the story. The pacing takes some delightful cues from that of Egyptian soap operas with a small cliffhanger at the end of each part.
This does not become disjointed because the stories are woven from good strong skeins, twisty and brightly dyed. Some get snapped.
Like all the best Egyptian stories, this one ends with a wedding, which in Egypt end with dancing; that unbelievable dancing that subdues sorrow until joy comes in the morning. ( )
  dmarsh451 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alaa Al Aswanyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, HumphreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To My Guardian Angel - Iman Taymur
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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.
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Original title: 'Imarat Ya'qubyan
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:07 -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)

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