The Yacoubian building is a cleverly interwoven tale which tells the stories of a variety of colourful individuals, their daily lives, their dreams for the future and the incidents which befall them. The book is amusing in parts, and reads as if the stories are all true. If you have spent some time in living in the Middle East, the nature of some of the characters and the description of various aspects of society (Islamic fundamentalism, bureaucracy, overly red blooded males and political corruption) are all themes which you will be able to relate to well.
Some of the characters are not developed as much as others, and the loose ends on finishing the book are a little too.... loose, and therefore the book fades out somewhat. However some characters, such as the young lady who becomes Zaki Bey's lover, are very engaging, and as a reader you may well find yourself silently urging them to follow a particular course of action!