stephen's Reviews > The Yacoubian Building

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
140508
's review
Jul 05, 07

liked it

excellent long long sentences. colorful group of personages rendered as if balzac had never happened. which is not in itself a bad thing. it's just that balzac did happen and so doing straight descriptive work with reference to the social world seems, well, one-dimensional. there is enjoyable one-dimensional and not enjoyable one-dimensional: this is mostly in the former category if you pay exclusive attention to the male characters. the women do not fare so well. nonetheless i would recommend it to whomever happens on this looking for that sort of important advice. yes yes, go read it. don't worry about the balzac remark: it hardly matters except as a personal quirk/preference of mine.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Yacoubian Building.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura but maybe this person is the arabic balzac. is this book a translation? perhaps they are coming from a totally different tradition.


message 2: by stephen (last edited Jul 06, 2007 11:06AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

stephen well, that's why i noted that the problem is mine, not al aswany's.

it follows from the assumption that doing history/describing the social-historical is a form of conceptual art which is all the more rigidly procedural when its procedure-bound characteristics are not acknowledged.

so the most procedure-bound modes of staging/describing are those which stay roughly within the time-frame of immediate perception. widening that time-frame opens up space for thinking operations as operations that would unfold within the temporality of immediate perception as features. balzac does this alot, especially with analytic descriptions of clothing--which opens onto social position as performance rather than social position as following directly from a set of external characteristics (which typically are doubled in subjective characteristics, because of course form->content blah blah blah.)

so in the end, it's about trawling for texts that reprocess rather than repeat, but actively reprocess--that operate with an analytic grid that interacts with a descriptive grid, both of which are layed over the space activated by reading that claims for itself the status of the world...

so yeah, the criterion is mine.


message 3: by Robin (new)

Robin "personages"...?


back to top