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The Yacoubian Building

The Yacoubian Building

Alaa Al Aswany
Translated by Humphrey Davies
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 266
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  • Book Info
    The Yacoubian Building
    Book Description:

    The Yacoubian Building holds all that Egypt was and has become over the 75 years since its namesake was built on one of downtown Cairo’s main boulevards. From the pious son of the building’s doorkeeper and the raucous, impoverished squatters on its roof, via the tattered aristocrat and the gay intellectual in its apartments, to the ruthless businessman whose stores occupy its ground floor, each sharply etched character embodies a facet of modern Egypt—one where political corruption, ill-gotten wealth, and religious hypocrisy are natural allies, where the arrogance and defensiveness of the powerful find expression in the exploitation of the weak, where youthful idealism can turn quickly to extremism, and where an older, less violent vision of society may yet prevail. Alaa Al Aswany’s novel caused an unprecedented stir when it was first published in 2002 and has remained the world’s best selling novel in the Arabic language since.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-186-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Translator’s Note
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Chapter 1
    (pp. 1-76)

    The distance between Baehler Passage, where Zaki Bey el Dessouki lives, and his office in the Yacoubian Building is not more than a hundred meters, but it takes him an hour to cover it each morning as he is obliged to greet his friends on the street. Clothing-and shoe-store owners, their employees (of both sexes), waiters, cinema staff, habitués of the Brazilian Coffee Stores, even doorkeepers, shoeshine men, beggars, and traffic cops—Zaki Bey knows them all by name and exchanges greetings and news with them. Zaki Bey is one of the oldest residents of Suleiman Basha Street, to which...

  6. Chapter 2
    (pp. 77-182)

    At Maxim’s, Zaki el Dessouki feels at home.

    No sooner has he crossed Suleiman Basha Square to the small passage opposite the Automobile Club, pushed open the small wooden door with the glass panes, and passed through the entrance way, than he feels as though a magic time machine has carried him back to the beautiful years of the 1950s. Everything at Maxim’s—from the brightly painted white walls hung with original works by great artists, the quiet lighting emanating from elegant wall lamps, the tables covered with gleaming white cloths on which plates, folded napkins, spoons, knives, and glasses...

  7. Glossary
    (pp. 183-188)
  8. Qur’anic References
    (pp. 189-190)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-192)