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The Yacoubian Building: A Novel [Paperback]

Alaa Al Aswany
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.99
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Book Description

July 20 2006

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.

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The Yacoubian Building: A Novel + Season of Migration to the North
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Product Details

Product Description


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

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

“...tremendously likable.... This vision of life connects high with low, rich with poor, through shared vices and needs.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

About the Author

Alaa Al Aswany is the internationally bestselling author of The Yacoubian Building and Chicago. A journalist who writes a controversial opposition column, Al Aswany makes his living as a dentist in Cairo.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Yacoubian Building Jan. 27 2012
This is an amazing book. I did have to refer to the glossary and character pages a few times but it was well worth it. It is the best book I have read in years and a very good introduction into modern Egypt. I was engrossed with all the characters and wished that it was the first of a series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a romantic novel Oct. 19 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Yacoubian Building caught me by surprise. It begins as a sexy, romantic novel, develops into an interesting character study, and ends as a frightening revelation of what makes a terrorist. The corruption and degradation of Egyptian society is frightening. Al Aswany knows his country; his translator is a good writer, and the book made a real impact on me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating & terrifying Feb. 5 2010
In the style of Charles Dickens, but far more engrossing and easy to follow. A fascinating portrait of Egyptian society. Scary in the way that it presents a terrorist trainee in such a sympathetic light, but, at the same time, without justifying his actions. A very worthwhile read as a primer to visiting Egypt.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Yacoubian Building Sept. 4 2006
An eye opener regarding the hypocrisy that Egyptians deal with and partake on a daily basis. The characters and the parallel story lines made it difficult to put the book down.

I congratulate the author for writing a book that may in turn put his life in danger-- but is so necessary for Egyptinas and non-Egyptians alike to read.
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