The Yacoubian Building

I know I saw a post from Gill here and even commented on it but can’t find it now. Anyway like you Gill I found the cast of characters confusing at times and constantly had to refer back to the, very helpful list, of characters for clarification. This is probably because, in my case, the names are rather difficult being unfamiliar. Also fairly off-putting was the constant switch in characters which, whilst adding an element of interest, caused a break in concentration and required some thought as to who the author was talking about and what they were actually doing at that point in the narrative. On the whole I found the story absorbing and was grateful for the conclusions although they came to rather an abrupt end. It was interesting to read about life ‘from the other side’ so to speak and I must admit it rather captivated me. I have limited experience of Egypt and its culture but have visited a few times to places like Alexandria, Cairo and the Nile area and I have to say the bribery, corruption and greed are all readily noticeable even from a tourist’s point of view. We were constantly harangued at every point for tips and I have even been asked, by officials, for the coins seen in my luggage by the x-ray machines. As for the sex, well I have to leave that to the imagination. I was surprised that such an explicit book was permitted in a muslim country and can understand why it was such a ‘hit’ at the time. Charlotte


3 thoughts on “The Yacoubian Building

  1. I,m glad you saw my blog, Charlotte….I was beginning to think that it was a figment of my imagination! However, it has reappeared..I,ve now finished the book and agree with lots of your comments.The book has too many characters, too many threads and too many important issues. He touches on homosexuality, corruption, exploitation, class prejudice, abuse of women, political unrest and muslim extremism to name just a few. He could have written three books and covered the topics in a bit more depth.
    I agree it did give us an insight into another world and made me grateful to be born in the UK.I did enjoy his characterisation; just too many of them!
    I won,t be rushing to read anymore of his books.


    • I too found the names confusing, couldn’t tell male or female apart.I nearly gave up on it but after a couple of chapters it started to get interesting and make sense. However I was horrified at the corruption, political and sexual – if any of this is true, no wonder the country is in such turmoil.
      Much to my surprise, I quite enjoyed the read but wouldn’t rush to seek out more. Viv

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