Middle East/North African Lit discussion

The Yacoubian Building
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2011cruise book diving(official) > The Yacoubian Building (March/April) 2011

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message 51: by Carly (last edited Apr 14, 2011 06:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments I was curious to see what the cripple looked like.

Also, now I know what 'Pasha' means - I thought it was 'Russian'. My eldest daughter's boyfriend calls himself Pasha.

This guy is narrating - explaining things - that makes it interesting. I may not bother reading the book - just watch this all afternoon - ha ha!


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments And ... oh, I do go on, don't I?

And now I know how to pronounce Yacoubian - yah-co-bee-ANN - that's how the guy presenting the film clips says it.

I was saying 'yah-COO-bee-ann'.


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1857 comments Mod
Carly , I am glad you liked what you watched about the movie , did you managed to watch all of it ?

BTW , Pasha is originally a Turkish word :)


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments No - just a few feet of it. Might just order it in from the library when I'm finished the book.

Kinda' slow with it right now.


Sheila | 86 comments Hi everyone, apologies for being AWOL but I had a tight strict work deadline to meet and everything else was put on hold and a week without internet connectivity. So I ended up with a long break from reading the story - I'd got as far as ......SPOILER ALERT......Taha arriving at camp before having to take a break - annoyingly so near to the end and I finished it this morning and posted my review comments to share

Discussion doesn't seem to have progressed much since I was last here? have folks stopped reading it? Having a break like me? or what?

Thanks for posting the links to the video. Unfortunately I don't have enough bandwidth here to watch video but have queued the urls up to see when I do.


Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 205 comments Oh, Sheila, I'm glad I'm not the only one! I read the book over a month ago but I haven't been able to be on GR much since then so I'm playing catch up, too. Unfortunately, I've passed my copy of the book on to a friend so I don't have it (and all my underlined parts!) in front of me now. And I also have a horrible sinus infection (and fuzzy brain) but here goes...

I watched the film after I read the book..and I fell asleep!! But I rarely like movies based on books. I could feel no connection to or sympathy for the characters in the film, whereas I did in the book.

message 31: by okyrho
Does Aswany imply that before the big injustices (corruption in the realms of government, religion, and business) can be dealt with, the "smaller" injustices, the social/moral oppressions that are perpetrated by one individual on the other, need to be addressed first? I would like to think that's the question Aswany raises, although he doesn't offer any concrete solution on how this can be resolved.
I see this as the challenge of Egypts's recent "revolution": the figurehead tyrant is gone, but the quotidian sources of oppression/inequality/injustice/etc remain.


This struck a chord with me, Okyrho. I don't know whether this is what Aswany was intentionally implying, but I believe that working on ending the "small" injustices is necessary before ending the big ones. Or at least that they must come hand-in-hand. As we've seen in Egypt, ridding a country of a corrupt and unjust leader does not make all injustices disappear, but it does help provide the impetus for further changes that perhaps would have taken longer to be realized otherwise. Ridding the country of one big symbol of injustice has given people HOPE that other injustices might also be stopped. Shortly after Mubarak stepped down, flyers were being handed out all over the country asking fellow citizens to do their part to end corruption - to stop offering bribes, to stop harassing women, to stop ignoring traffic signs and police, to stop littering, etc. I thought this was fascinating - to see a country's population voice their own weaknesses and failings in an attempt to improve themselves! Whether or not everyone will work towards these individual goals enough to make a difference...well, only time will tell, but I think there is a growing awareness that these "smaller" injustices must also be worked on if we want the "big" injustices to end.


Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 205 comments OKay, so I (finally!) watched the BBC's World Book Club interview with Al Aswany that Trish posted early on.

Should have watched it earlier as he touches on what I discussed in my previous post:

Al Aswany states that he believes that the disease (dictatorship) must be cured before the symptoms or complications of the disease (injustice, corruption, terrorism, extremism) can be cured. He also states that the only cure for this disease is real democracy. I'm not sure I agree. What if there is more than one disease at work here, diseases that exhibit the same complications? Can they all be cured with the same solution (end of dictatorship, democracy)?

In the interview, he also makes the important point that his novel is an indication of not a conclusion on Egyptian culture.

And, off the topic just a bit here...he also reiterates that there is no censorship of books that are published in Egypt, only on books that are brought into the country (he mentions foreign language translations here). But I have a copy of a book (self-published, written in English, by a foreigner) published IN Egypt that WAS censored - half of one of the pages was cut out of every copy of the book before it was allowed to leave the printers' warehouse. So, maybe someone in the know can clarify - are books written in languages other than Arabic subject to censorship here in Egypt? Or because it was a foreigner...or because it was self-published? Just curious.


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1857 comments Mod
Sheila and Bernadette , I really enjoyed reading your posts and Sheila's review :)

and Bernadette , I agree with you , it is more than just (end of dictatorship, democracy), I think it is an awareness matter to be able to decide the next step , that is why future seems very misty and confusing specially after the last referendum .

Bernadette wrote: "And, off the topic just a bit here...he also reiterates that there is no censorship of books that are published in Egypt, only on books that are brought into the country (he mentions foreign language translations here). But I have a copy of a book (self-published, written in English, by a foreigner) published IN Egypt that WAS censored - half of one of the pages was cut out of every copy of the book before it was allowed to leave the printers' warehouse. So, maybe someone in the know can clarify - are books written in languages other than Arabic subject to censorship here in Egypt? Or because it was a foreigner...or because it was self-published? Just curious. ..."

He said there is (no censorship) ! I doubt that , there were Egyptian books banned by Naguib Mahfouz and Nawal El Saadawi and others , even here in the forum , they adviced me not to get any copy I find from (moon on Samarkand) cause some aditions are not complete .


Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) | 205 comments Nile daughter wrote: "He said there is (no censorship) ! I doubt that , there were Egyptian books banned by Naguib Mahfouz and Nawal El Saadawi and others , even here in the forum , they adviced me not to get any copy I find from (moon on Samarkand) cause some aditions are not complete ."

Thanks for the clarification! I was pretty sure books were being censored, but Al Aswany and the current Minister of Culture keep saying there's no censorship of books!! Why? Hhhmmm...


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1857 comments Mod
I am not sure , that is what I know , may be they mean a new policy or a late applied one?


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments I think it's wonderful when any country can get people to stop littering! I have no empathy with people who insist on throwing trash just anywhere.

Here in Ontario, it seems there isn't a square foot of space where you don't find coffee cups, candy bar wrappers, cigarette packs, yadda' yadda'.

And what gets me is you often see litter around WASTE BASKETS - cigarette butts right beside the receptacles provided for them!


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments Moon on Samarkand - now that prompts me - I notice you have it up for a read. I'm going to order it in from the library just to see if it is COMPLETE or marked as being ABRIDGED.

If it's available in our libraries here, you won't see pages or parts of pages cut out. It's either 'banned' or it's available.

Mind you, there is a bit of what we call ... oh, what's that word ... I'll think of it. But one of the librarians told us at a book meeting that 'some' books disappear right off the shelves because some 'groups' of people don't think they should be there.

They manage to get them out of the library without going through checkout and do NOT return them - that way, the books are not available.

'Maverick' ... 'maverick' censors. That was the word I was looking for. These groups are not approved by government or any kind of admin, they just take it upon themselves to censor books.

Which we, as Canadians, DO NOT like!


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments Ahhhh ... it's MOON OVER SAMARQUAND ... not ON ... but still, I'm having a problem finding it on our library system.

Maybe if I can get the author's name? Lemmee' see ...


Carly Svamvour (WildCityWoman) | 101 comments Nope - not finding it - keyed in the author's name, and there does not seem to be a copy of the book or any material by this author in our system.

Why this is I don't know. Maybe I'd better not ask questions about it, just in case I bring down the wrath of something dangerous? It doesn't take much to fall under suspicion these days ... heh! heh!


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1857 comments Mod
Carly
I do not know why you can not find it , may be it is not popular enough , any way I have not read it yet , we may come across it again when we reach central Asia stop .

I think most books dealing with the three taboos (politics , religion or sex) have problems with censorship . that is why publishing a novel like (The Yacoubian Building) was a bold act , but you can sense limits or borders are not what they used to be here , but to which extent , I do not know .


Sheila | 86 comments Talking about censorship, I'll mention a great site Words Without Borders


Nile daughter (Niledaughter) | 1857 comments Mod
Sheila wrote: "Talking about censorship, I'll mention a great site Words Without Borders"

Sounds interesting , thanks !


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Yacoubian Building (other topics)
On the State of Egypt: A Novelist's Provocative Reflections (other topics)
Chicago (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Alaa Al Aswany (other topics)