Alaa Al Aswany’s mesmerising The Yacoubian Building provides a vivid glimpse into contemporary Egypt’s many contradictions where cosmopolitan past clashes with a tumultuous present. Structured as a series of intersecting vignettes, The Yacoubian Building deals with themes of sex, power, longing and despair.
Once home to the crème de la crème of Egyptian society, The Yacoubian Building is now past its prime. Older residents cling to the faded glories and old-world charm of its past, while newer tenants busily prevent eager arrivals from usurping more space in a building that reflects 70 years of Egypt's social and political upheavals. In the course of this unforgettable novel, these disparate lives converge, careening inexorably toward an explosive conclusion.
'There are many stories here. The book is elaborate to bursting point, but always controlled, always whole. It is as juicy and satisfying as a shiny apple, its taste both strange and familiar, compassionate and bitter.' The Times
Photo Credit: Harper Collins
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