8 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Yacoubian Building (Paperback)This book may well give amazing insights into modern Egyptian society and culture (as claimed by the reviews) - but I am sorry to say that I simply found it boring.
It provides a series of portraits of individuals who are in some way connected with the eponymous Yacoubian Building. As the text flits frequently from one character to another without apparent link I found the list of characters that is printed at the front of the book very helpful in reminding me who we were reading about (and helping me with the unfamiliar Egyptian names).
In reading the book I found it very disjointed. Although some of the characters bump into one another, there is very little interaction between them or shared involvement (apart from Busyana who touches the lives of at least 3 others), and no story line to keep the readers attention. It struck me that the book would be easier and pleasanter to read if the threads relating to each character had simply been presented in order (ie as a series of related novellas).
Speaking personally I did not find myself achieving a sense of understanding or empathy with any of the characters, nor did I find them particularly interesting. If you have some knowledge of Egyptian culture and society and want to read more about it then you may find this book interesting; otherwise, give it a miss.