Monday, 28 June 2010

Recommended Reading: The Yacoubian Building

We are blessed with a lot of bookstores in our town. This is good for me as I always have a couple of books on the go! Actually, being a University town it would be strange if there weren't a lot of bookstores... One of them is called Galloway & Porter and they sell discounted books. They are supposedly damaged, but I have rarely found any damage to those I have bought. Unfortunately, they are closing down and they will be greatly missed!

Our Boy keeps saying I should try the new electronic reading devices. I don't think they are "me"... I like to hold the book, turn the pages and the feel it gives in addition to the reading experience. Think I am a bit old fashioned, me... ;-)

I just finished "The Yacoubian Building" by Alaa Al Aswany.
The story is about the lifes of the people in a big apartment building in Cairo. It sounds a bit like one of my favourite authors, Alexander McCall Smith's serie "Love over Scotland". But that is where the similarities stop. This story is about the lives of the inhabitants where some live in squalor on the rooftop, others inhabit the faded glory of its apartments and offices. We meet a womanizing aristocrat, the secretly gay editor, as well as religious fervour jostled with promiscuity, bribery and exploitation as well as joy and elation. It is a mix of modern life with ancient culture. But when dreams are dashed, hope turns to bitterness with devastating consequences.

The focus was at times a bit too "promiscuous" to my liking, and I am NOT a prude. I also felt there were too many stories to be told and not enough pages to write them on. The author could have expanded more on the characters and perhaps divided it over two books. 
On the positive side, it was very helpful with a glossary as well as a list of characters as many cultural references were unknown to me. 
So, I learnt something new today, too! ;-)
The book is an international best seller and has received great reviews.

Would I read it again (always the best question to ask)? Probably not.
But I would give the author another chance.

1 comment:

  1. Hei Mette! Jeg skal ta å skrive den oppskriften på kanelboller på bloggen min en dag jeg, de det var bilde av er det svigerdattra mi som har laget. Men oppskrifta er fra meg, har fått den an mamma. Ja, jippi snart ferie! Venter sååå ille nå. Skal bli godt med noen dager på hytta. Så nå roper jeg på sommeren.