Customer Reviews for

The Yacoubian Building

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2009

    Understanding what was, what is and what will be.

    For years I lived in Cairo and was surrounded by what could be called the Yocoubian Building culture. Upon opening this volume I was transported back to the former elegance of the downtown area, its transformation as the old elites changed and were superseded by the the new classes who moved across the river and then,most recently,away from the city itself and into the new suburbs.

    The individual's memory of the former grandeur and the country's saddness at the passing of the golden era of thier city is not confined to the pashas and the beys who lost much after the revolution. Even the upper Egyptian doormen and garage men believe that much as been lost. When asked what has been gained, they shrug their shoulders but say little.

    The author feels it all and tells it in a manner which depicts the strength of a sociey, the sadness and the endurance. His characterrs personify a certain stocism , the qualtiy which has managed to be the glue of the entire society. This book can teach us the value of ambivalence.

    This is a work which touched my deepest memories and impressions of a quarter century of being a guest in and a student of Egypt.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2008

    Fascinating portrayal of modern Egypt

    With characters from various backgrounds peppering the novel, this was a great 'slice of life' of modern Egypt. It was fascinating to see the characters, linked by this one place, how they interconnected and how culture and religion impacted their lives. The reader is instantly transported into another world in reading the novel, and it is truly a memorable journey.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2007

    Tender, tragic and touching perspective of life in Cairo

    I read this novel, received as a Christmas gift, shortly after returning from a business trip in the Mideast. I was moved by its poignant sense of perspective, the elegant beauty of both the writing and the translation and the heart-wrenching grief that I found within its modest number of pages. The words leapt off every page as the tragedies emerged of characters whose chief links among each other had to do with their various and sundry connections to their dwelling place, an old building in Cairo. The stories were truly moving and every character was beautifully rendered and Al Aswany breathed life into them all with remarkable nuance, credibility, insight and empathy. Although his characters experience rough treatment at the hands of life in Egypt, the narrative remains tender and treats the reader as if he were a guest in the novelist's home. The language is simple but elgantly crafted and I don't know whether to give credit to author and/or translator but the team presented a beautifully published hardcover from the American University in Cairo Press. It was a joy to read this touching, sincere and genuine window into life in Cairo, such an articulate perspective of which is all too rare for those seeking to understand life amid the ancient turmoil of this often bewildering region. I was intrigued to find just how bewildering it is even to those who live there as well as to those who seek to understand it from a great distance. If anything will shed light across cultures so at variance, it is likely to be under the tent of art and music and creative literature that we may rightly hope and aspire to share a common oasis.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    Love Love Love

    can't praise this book enough. Want to get all his other books. No wonder it has become a worldwide bestseller and so intriguing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    The book I enjoyed most in 2009

    Great story, exellent writing, very informative

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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