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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There’s a lot of sex in the novel, too — including such colourful descriptions as: 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. 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. The Egyptians are the easiest people in the world to rule.

Khaled Diab, in an article entitled Cultural rainbowsexplores this aspect of the novel, and how this can help change popular attitudes to homosexuality in the Arab world. Maybe that sounds better in the Arabic original While Busayna gives into her dejection until she herself becomes as indifferent and heartless as yacoublan surroundings, Talal seeks solace-and reparation-in Islam.

After the revolution inwhich overthrew King Farouk and gave power to Gamal Abdel Nasseraswanny of the rich foreigners, as well as native landowners and businessmen, who had lived at the Yacoubian fled the country. November External links: It is undoubtedly this groundbreaking literary rendition of Egyptian realism, served with a heavy dose of humor, that has made the book such a hit with the local audience two years runningand that, despite the awkward translation in parts, renders it an entertaining and revelatory read for those intrigued by Egyptian culture.

Notionally set during the Gulf War but about contemporary Egypt, Alaa Al Aswany’s novel The Yacoubian Building follows the lives of several of the building’s inhabitants. 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 alaq with “God willing,” and justify their actions by implying that they are but implementing God’s will: Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.


No Egyptian can go against his government. Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles containing Arabic-language text All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from February Even men are reduced to a form of semi-prostitution. These strands are only loosely connected, but they are all dominated by yacoubiqn. The Yacoubian Building’s treatment of homosexuality is taboo-breakingparticularly for contemporary mainstream Arab literature.

A street in the sky

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.

The book focuses mainly on the residents of the Yacoubian building, a once-chic but now rundown edifice that acts as a metaphor for Cairo’s own deterioration. The rooftop community, effectively a slum neighborhood, is symbolic of the urbanization of Egypt and of aala burgeoning population growth in its large cities in recent decades, especially among the poor and working classes. The Yacoubian Building – Canada. Asway this scathing critique of contemporary Egypt, one is hard put to find a redeemable character.

The Yacoubian Building

With the opening of the country to foreign capital in the s, the downtown district became outmoded, and apartments in the building were let out as offices including the clinic where Alaa al Aswany first practised as a dentist. Al Aswany writes of its fictional counterpart as having been designed “in the high classical European style, the balconies decorated with Greek faces carved in stone, the columns, steps, and corridors all of natural marble.


The Yacoubian Building unfolds in the former European quarter downtown at the time of the Gulf war. Some peoples are excitable and rebellious by nature but the Egyptian keeps his head down his whole life long so he can eat.

The Yacoubian Building (Alaa Al Aswany) – book review

But Al Aswany goes to great length to also show how these people are all victims of their merciless society: On the other hand considering that the main gay character is presented as a predator, who gets men 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?


Cairo’s Yacoubian building is past its prime: 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 aswan of sinning in this way.

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 yacoubiah of the primary characters either live or work and in which much of the novel’s action yacoubiam place. The characters are a sort of compendium.

The Yacoubian Building – Wikipedia

It’s a solid picture of this society if, again, far too simplistic in many buildint and isn’t tendentious or too obvious in its critique.

There’s the sex-obsessed Zaki 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.

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. 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.

The Yacoubian Building Arabic: