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عمارة يعقوبيان

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  16,519 ratings  ·  1,385 reviews
جاءت هذه الرواية معبرة عن مصر في الخمسين سنة الأخيرة 1952-2002 بكل سلبيات هذه المرحلة و بكل ما وقع فيها من حراك اجتماعي
حيث صعد الى أعلى الدرجات أقل الناس شانا وانهار أبناء الطبقة الارسطقراطية و لم يبق الا اجترار الماضي سجلت هذه الرواية ما وقع و يقع في مصر من فساد و انحلال و رشوة ابتزاز و تكاد تشير الى أشخاص بعينهم تعرفهم بسيماهم من أفعالهم
Paperback, 348 pages
Published 2007 by مكتبة مدبولي (first published 2002)
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Susan My favorite was Busayna because I could very slightly identify with some of her predicament in the workplace (from long, long ago). She had…moreMy favorite was Busayna because I could very slightly identify with some of her predicament in the workplace (from long, long ago). She had practicality and perseverance despite her setbacks. She accepted her responsibility to take care of her family despite the small ability she had as a woman to provide for them. She was annoyed by Taha's unwillingness to accept life as it was, and she recognized love when it came, no matter how strange a place it came from. I had sympathy for Taha in the beginning but his inability to accept and adapt is an annoying quality found in many men who put pride before life, where women most often shoulder the burden and keep on going. (less)

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3.67  · 
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 ·  16,519 ratings  ·  1,385 reviews


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·Karen·
Dispiriting.

I nearly tossed this into the nearest patch of long grass, as I got so thoroughly sick of the descriptions of boobs and buttocks, so impatient with the fact that ALL the women fell into only two categories: young and therefore luscious and desirable, or old, and therefore no longer desirable. Worst of all is old and skinny - and yes, it says a LOT about me that I'm particularly sensitive to this - because old and skinny means you turn into a screeching termagant. (Somebody better wa
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Tyler
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those trying to make sense of the Middle East
Recommended to Tyler by: _An Egyptian
Shelves: gay-interest
Narrators tell stories; protagonists tell them; characters in novels do, too. But in The Yacoubian Building, an apartment complex on a downtown street tells the story of a whole nation. This ten-story structure, I found, has a lot to say.

The building doesn't talk, of course, but it shelters the many people whose lives the book recounts. Brought together only by their place of residence, these very different people are, by the end, brought together in a second way, by the common experience of lif
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Dawn Bates
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book twice now. Once before coming to Egypt and again this summer, having lived in Egypt for two years.

The first time I read it, I truly believed that the situations that happened within it were exaggerated for artistic license. Now? It's all true. No artistic license needed. Just straight forward truth. I see so many of these things happening, and many more besides.

Al Aswany's depiction of Egyptian life, his clever way of writing about Egypt's elite and corrupt, making sure reade
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César Lasso
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It reminded me of Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz in the sense that the author takes an area (an alley in Cairo in the case of Mahfouz, a building in al-Aswani's book) and portrays the lives and souls of the varied characters connected to it. But the author didn't feel as a cheap imitator of Mahfouz --he had his own talent and originality.

It is funny that I read it while the Egyptian revolution of February 2011 was going on. The book gave me an insight into the contemporary Egyptians' lives and pr
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jun 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Rima
A handful of intertwining stories all passing through The Yacoubian Building in downtown Cairo, I read this in one plane trip from Texas to SC. I couldn't put it down! And not just for the sexual content, which I'm sure is the reason half the people who read this pick it up. Controversial in Egypt? Oh my! It has interesting insight into relationships of all kinds - homosexual men in a society that may look the other way if they like you enough, women who marry to support their families, and the ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Egypt is in the news today for all the wrong reasons. But when I witness the turmoil there, I perceive a silver lining: this is the birth pain of a true democracy.

I have had a lifelong love affair with Egypt, ever since I studied about pharaohs and the pyramids and hieroglyphics in middle school. I have seen the similarity with India, the paradox of being immensely rich culturally and dirt poor monetarily. Visiting the country had been my secret dream, which was realised three years ago.

I read t
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okyrhoe
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing, egypt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Calzean
It's Cairo, and nearby the US is launching it's invasion into Kuwait.
The author was a dentist and he fills his book with the lives of the occupants of the Yacoubian Building. The poor live on the roof, the rich in once luxury apartments that are now showing signs of wear and tear. The author drills into the lives, extracting all of the sins of humanity. He also uses one character to talk about the rise of Islamic supporters who wish to rid the country of all of it's corruption and Western ways.
I
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David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ca ...more
Mary
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east, 2018, fiction
Let’s put it this way: I was not at all surprised to learn that the author is a dentist.
A.
Jun 18, 2008 rated it really liked it



The writer has the ability to steal the reader and race him with his lines. He keeps firm grip on the reader's mind...even when you leave the book you keep thinking about the events and when will you go back to read more. You can live easily inside his story lines.

I have not seen the movie but I've seen some of the tv episodes, and i think the book is much much more exciting.

I'm thinking of buying the English version to compare it with the original Arabic versions...also I look forward to readin
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Jim Fonseca
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A soap opera story of the people who live in a Cairo mid-rise apartment building. We have all walks of life from the super wealthy in suites to the down and out who constitute a mini-community of rooftop dwellers, and hangers-out at a gay bar in the basement of the building. The book gives us a wealth of information about life in Cairo. We learn of the many foreigners who live in the city, many Christians, and how almost everyone manages to evade traditional Muslim norms. People drink and smoke. ...more
Anastasia Hobbet
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I'd heard so much about this novel that I expected more--not more in terms of story, because there's lots of meaty story in this book--but more in terms of imagery, lyricism, and in-depth character portrayal. The single character who truly stole my heart is the old swain Zaki Bey al-Dessouki, who reminds me warmly of the endearing and penniless old Prince Yakimov in Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy. An Egyptian acquaintance who reads a lot of literature in English and Arabic told me that Egyptian ...more
Donna
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-read


Al Aswany uses a building as the organizing principle of this well populated book. Each character inhabits a different part of the building and lives a different thread of the story. The pacing takes some delightful cues from that of Egyptian soap operas with a small cliffhanger at the end of each part. This does not become disjointed because the stories are woven from good strong skeins, twisty and brightly dyed. Some get snapped.
Like all the best Egyptian stories, this one ends with a wedding
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Ismail Elshareef
This is Egypt. Its past of glorified and often lamented early 20th-Century grandeur as well as its present of turbulence and increasing desperation and repressiveness are artfully laid out for the reader to analyze, contemplate and invariably pity in this impressive literary work. This is Egypt that everyone knows well but rather not talk about.

The book captures the collective moral and physical destitution of the post-1970s Egyptian society like no other book has; at least none that I have eve
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Autumn Futch
I don't know how a book manages to cover so many triggering, inappropriate, and grotesque topics in less than 250 pages, but this one does it. Though difficult to read at times--cringing at the flippant coverage of problematic issues, stepping away for a few days after the truly triggering imagery--this book offers insight about the decade before the revolution, the societal standards that still plague Egypt, and the lives of those merely trying to scrape by, reconciling their sins and their dev ...more
Hagar
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
It was ok! Ok..he's got some style in writing..but he adores employing the sex motif...in such a disgusting way! Even such issues can be tackled gracefully...not in such manners! Plus, this is not a true mirror of the Egyptian society and its malaise..yes I agree that the societal diseases are symbolised in the pervert sexual acts whether : banned sex, pervert spouses, homosexuality, whores, rape... but still..what I argue for..does that novel deserve to be Egypt's modern portrayal all over the ...more
Trish
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Within this relatively small community Al Aswany tells us much about life in Egypt. Among the things we discover are the sad narrowness of poor Egyptian women's choices, the courage required of each small life, the meanness and cruelty required of every big life and the simple longing for warmth and basic dignities shared by every individual. Al Aswany recounts the various forms that its frustration can take; compassionately. Everyday poetry underpins tragic and comic situations alike. The prose ...more
Marc
Al Aswany drops the reader into the middle of an Egyptian apartment building and the several characters and story lines that emanate from this location. It's immersive and immediately pulls you in to the characters' lives. The story lines alone are engaging, but together they also provide a kind of window on modern Egyptian society and the inherent contradictions of life.
Blaine DeSantis
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book which contains snapshots of some of the residents of the Yacoubian Building, and once we are introduced to them we follow them for a period of time. Sex is big in this book, but not graphic sex, but rather sex seems to be pervasive in the lives of many of the residents, so do not let that put you off on this book. We are introduced to a young man trying to become a police officer, Islamic extremists, politicians, businessmen and schemers. Also some very nice women who ma ...more
Denise
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2018
Weaving together the stories of various inhabitants of a grand building in Cairo from different walks of life - rich and poor, young and old, male and female, straight and gay -, this beautifully written novel explores life in Egypt in all manner of facets. A tale that easily drew me in and kept me reading.
Lyndsey
Set in the early 2000s in Cairo, the novel tells the story of daily struggles, class differences, religious fanaticism and life under dictatorship in an Egypt that is fighting with the Americans in the first Iraq war.

There are many diverse characters. Their commonality is only that they have a tie to the Yacoubian building, where the wealthy live in grand old apartments and the poor live in a community of shacks on the roof. Their lives intersect in expected and unexpected twists and turns.

What
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James
Reading literature about a particular city gives you insight into the mores and character of that community. This is true of Alaa Al Aswany's novel from 2002, The Yacoubian Building (Imarat Ya'qubyan). I found the novel both well written and structured. Using the title building as his center Aswany portrays a diverse group of contemporary Cairenes to demonstrate the experience of living in the world of Egypt today. The author presents the issues of political corruption, class conflict and the "s ...more
Bruce
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Things are rotten in the state of Egypt' may serve to describe the focus of this novel. The plot tells the interconnected stories of men and women, some rich and some poor, who live in, around, or on top of a once elegant office/apartment building in downtown Cairo. The author, Alaa al Aswany, seems to have fashioned his characters as stand-ins for the many problems that constitute life in contemporary Egypt: political corruption, police brutality, Islamic militancy, a dysfunctional social fabr ...more
stephen
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 i ...more
Marieke
Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when it first appeared in English translation but a friend's updates just reminded me that i should add it. I remember that it was slow at first and i didn't understand what the big deal was (everyone was gaga over this book at the time, including my arabic tutor). then i got hooked and the story just kept building and building and building. and by building, i don't mean the Yacoubian Building, which is kind of a character in the story, but you know, the verb building. i would like t ...more
Kristen
If you are at all interested in what's going on in Egypt at the moment, I highly recommend reading this book. It's the most popular (and controversial) modern novel in the Arab world, and it highlights the lives of a dozen residents of a Cairo building. While it reads a bit like a soap opera, it does a fantastic job of showing modern Cairo in all its beauty and contradictions. The author had a dental practice in the real Yacoubian building, and apparently the stories are fairly autobiographical. ...more
Mark Farag
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lot better than I expected and managed to narrate a lot of extremely difficult and taboo topics (in accordance with Egyptian/Islamic norms), without passing judgement or creating cartoonishly evil characters. Even the characters one finds abhorrent are genuinely sympathetic. It helped me understand views and perspectives completely alien to me and gave me a slightly better understanding of Egyptian society. Also, somewhat entertaining.
Isabelle
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I has heard about this book on NPR and could not wait to read it. It certainly lived up to my expectations and more. Through depicting the lives of the residents of one particular Cairo building, the writer explains so much that we, Westerners, find incomprehensible: women's condition, political corruption, even fundamentalism. All this with an incredible amount of compassion and a very sharp pen. The atmosphere is so vivid I really thought I was in Cairo again. lost in the medina... again!
Noora
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have so many thoughts about this book, none of which are coherent enough to do the piece justice. I highly suggest exploring Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak” alongside this book. In so many ways, this book is about the subaltern female and about the havoc of colonialism. All the while, it’s not at all about these things, and is a book about the loudest form of silencing: oppression, in its most blatant form. For those with family in Egypt and for those without, this book hits hard.
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علاء الأسواني

Alaa al-Aswany (Arabic: علاء الأسواني), Egyptian Arabic (Masri) "علاء الاسوانى" (born 1957) is an Egyptian writer, and a founding member of the political movement Kefaya.

Trained as a dentist in Egypt and Chicago, it took him 9 years to earn his degree from Chicago National University where he spent 17 years in his life, al-Aswany has contributed numerous articles to Egyptian newspaper
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“إحنا فى زمن المسخ” 210 likes
“الحياة أكثر تعقيدا, والشر موجود في أطيب الناس وأقربهم الينا..” 53 likes
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