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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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For the eponymous film, see The Yacoubian Building film. The Yacoubian building itself is a once-handsome art deco block on the boulevard known now as Talaat Harb, but here called by its old name of Suleiman Basha Street.

Not for the first or last time it’s shown that money and connexions are what counts, not abilities or diligence.

The Yacoubian Building (Alaa Al Aswany) – book review

After the revolution inwhich overthrew King Farouk and gave power to Gamal Abdel Nassermany of the rich foreigners, as well as native landowners and businessmen, who had lived at the Yacoubian fled the xlaa.

As his unamiable political fixer Kamal el Fouli pronounces: 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 one night, never to be seen again. On the other hand considering that the main gay character is presented as a predator, who gets buildinh drunk while watching straight porn with them in order to seduce them and then ends up being strangled to death by one of his tricks, this movie?

There’s moral decay throughout The Yacoubian Buildingbut Al Aswany does not so much condemn immorality per se, but rather the double standards, especially where money and influence are involved.

He uncovers hypocrisies of power, religion, and love, but he refrains from judgement, leaving the reader to make their own evaluations.

A street in the sky

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. For other uses, see Yacoubian Building disambiguation.


The actual namesake building, buildign in the Art Deco style, still stands in downtown Cairo at the address given in the novel: The author, a dentist by profession, had his first office in the Yacoubian Building in Cairo. In their stead, a new breed of Cairenes has moved in. It’s a solid picture of this society if, again, far zl simplistic in many regards and isn’t tendentious or too obvious in its critique.

All in all, they constitute a loathsome bunch: Taha doesn’t despair completely at first and enrolls at university, but it’s not surprising that Al Buidling has him marked for a downward spiral that leads him to Islamic radicalism and, ultimately, violence. Views Read Edit View history. In this scathing critique of contemporary Egypt, one is hard put to find a redeemable character. For all the Mahfouzian decor – prostitution, hashish, homosexuality – there is none of the oddity, even clownishness, of character or the intensity of savour and texture of Midaq Alley.

Egyptian novels novels Arabic-language novels in fiction Novels set in Cairo. The Yacoubian Building Arabic: The locale of the novel is downtown Cairowith the titular apartment building which actually exists serving as both a metaphor for contemporary Egypt and a unifying location in which most of the primary characters either live or work and in which much of the novel’s action takes aala.

The Yacoubian Building

There’s the sex-obsessed Thee Bey, and his servant Abaskharon — and Abaskharon’s brother Malak, who gets a toehold on the Yacoubian roof and underhandedly manages to take hold of other bits and pieces, with designs for even more. With the opening of the country to foreign capital in the s, the downtown district became buildjng, and apartments in the building were let out as offices including the clinic where Alaa al Aswany first practised as a dentist.

The complete review ‘s Review:. Whether in fact, or merely in fiction, old store-rooms on the roof of the building are rented in the novel to poor immigrants from the villages, so that Aswany manages to have both a middle-class apartment block and a teeming Mahfouzian alley in the air. Though this is sometimes strained, it holds up well enough, and though the characters represent different classes and backgrounds, they are also individuals.


Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles containing Arabic-language text All yacoibian with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from February The rose opened to the touch of his fingers and he watered it more than once till it was quenched. The book was made into a film of the same name in and into a TV series in Through them Al Aswany explores the abuses of power and the corruption that permeate Egypt, from the highest levels of government and business down to the employment of the police as paid thugs in domestic disputes.

Aseany not just hhe state that is a failure, however: But now that this teh 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.

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 guilt of sinning in this way. The mounting pressure of life down-at- the-heels leads to more than one act of violence and Al Aswany deftly builds up the narrative to the boiling point.

Corruption — moral and otherwise — is endemic, and the authorities, in particular, do not come off well. Maybe that sounds better in the Arabic original From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Meanwhile his ex-girlfriend has to sell herself to make ends meet. While more concerned with everyday survival and comforts than the faith Taha begins professing, she too is affected by the prevailing buildlng conditions — in her case, the way men treat women.