One more title from my ever-expanding reading wish list.
** The cover image is for illustrative purposes only. If you are a publisher and would kindly like to offer me a copy of this book for review, I will change the cover so as to reflect the edition received. **
The Yacoubian Building
By Alaa Al Aswany
Amazon's product description: An international bestseller, The Yacoubian Building is a mesmerising and controversial novel that is at once an impasssioned celebration and a ruthless dissection of a society dominated by bribery and corruption. The Yacoubian Building -- once grand, but now dilapidated -- stands on one of Cairo's main boulevards. Taha, the doorman's son, has aspirations beyond the slum in the skies, and dreams of one day becoming a policeman. He studies hard, and passes all the exams, but when he is rejected because his family is neither rich nor influential, the bitterness sets in. His girlfriend, Busayna, finds herself unable to earn a living without also providing sexual services for the men who hire her. When Taha seeks solace in a student Islamic organisation, the pressure mounts, and he is drawn to actions with devastating consequences. The Yacoubian Building follows Taha's trajectory from innocence to tragedy. The people whose lives orbit his -- the inhabitants of the building -- are also facing their own difficult choices. From those living in squalid and cramped conditions on the rooftops, to the homosexual editor of Le Caire newspaper and a womanising aristocrat, all of the contradictions in Egyptian society are here. Religious feelings live side by side with promiscuity; bribery and exploitation alternate with moments of joy and elation; modernity clashes with the vision of a more ancient society. Alaa Al Aswany's mesmerising novel caused an unprecedented stir when it was published in Egypt. It is at once an impassioned celebration and a ruthless dissection of a society dominated by bribery and corruption.
Why I want to read this book: If well written, I enjoy books that follow the stories of different characters. In this case, I'm also interested in reading about everyday life in a culture that is different from mine.