The Yacoubian Building

A Novel

by Alaa Al Aswany

On Sale: 08/01/2006

The Yacoubian Building

A Novel

by Alaa Al Aswany

On Sale: 08/01/2006

Format:

About the Book

"A bewitching political novel of contemporary Cairo that is also an engagé novel about sex, a romantic novel about power and a comic yet sympathetic novel about the vagaries of the human heart. Even the least politically oriented reader will find it engrossing."  — New York Times Book Review

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.

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.

Critical Praise

"A bewitching political novel of contemporary Cairo that is also an engagé novel about sex, a romantic novel about power and a comic yet sympathetic novel about the vagaries of the human heart. Even the least politically oriented reader will find it engrossing." — New York Times Book Review

“All novels contain invisible cities, even those set in actual metropolises. Ulysses does not unfold in Ireland but in James Joyce’s mind. The same goes for the sprawling, heaving Cairo depicted in Alaa Al Aswany’s tremendously likable new novel. . . . Occasionally it seems as if an indiscreet superintendent, jangling keys and all, is taking us around the Yacoubian Building, whispering about secrets hushed up. This vision of life connects high with low, rich with poor, through shared vices and needs.” — John Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle

“[L]ike the late Naguib Mahfouz, Alaa Al Aswany is a world writer, making Egyptian concerns into human ones and beautifully illuminating our always extraordinary and sometimes sad and baffling world.” — The Times (London)

“[A] hilarious, sensual, bawdy and beautiful novel.” — Nerve

“There’s some real human tragedy (and comedy) at play here, and the panorama you get of a nation on edge is an eye-opener.” — Seattle Times

“[A] frank and hilarious soap opera set to an Arabic beat.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“No other Egyptian, or Arab writer for that matter, has so boldly broken through the literary stagnation of the last 50 years by addressing these themes. Except perhaps Naguib Mahfouz, the Nobel Laureate who penned the Cairo Trilogy in the 1950s.” — Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Foreign Policy Magazine

“With its interlocking vignettes and intertwining characters, Alaa al-Aswany’s hip and racy novel creates a complex narrative of contemporary Egyptian life.” — Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, The Daily Star (Beirut)

“Richly peppered with complex characters. . . . A provocative survey of the social and political pressures of the present that has many Egyptians looking nostalgically to their more tolerant and hopeful past.” — Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

“Captivating and controversial .. . .an amazing glimpse of modern Egyptian society and culture.” — New York Review of Books

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Resources

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060878139
  • ISBN 10: 0060878134
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 08/01/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • List Price:21.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION: World Literature / American / 20th Century
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Lesbian
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Contemporary Women
  • BISAC4 : FICTION / Romance / Historical / 20th Century
  • BISAC5 : FICTION / Family Life
  • BISAC6 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC7 : FICTION / General
  • BISAC8 : FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
  • BISAC9 : FICTION / Romance / General
  • BISAC10 : FICTION / Gay
  • BISAC11 : FICTION / Classics
  • BISAC12 : FICTION: World Literature / Middle East / General
  • BISAC13 : FICTION: World Literature / American / 21st Century

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