The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany

The Yacoubian Building

Alaa Al Aswany

All human life is certainly here in this expose of Egyptian society set in a Cairo apartment building. These stories of the city seethe with political corruption, religious fundamentalism and sexual exploitation. Very explicit sex and violence and not for the fainthearted feminist.

Extract

The men pay little attention to the women's quarrels, viewing them as just one more indication of that defectiveness of mind of which the prophet - God bless him and grant him peace - spoke. These men of the roof pass their days in a bitter and wearisome struggle to earn a living and return at the end of the day exhausted and in a hurry to partake of their small pleasures - tasty hot food and a few pipes of tobacco (or hashish if they have the money), which they either smoke in a water-pipe on their own or stay up to smoke while talking with the others on the roof on summer nights.

Parallels
  • Justine by Lawrence Durrell
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

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