Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Moorishgirl has a good review of Alaa al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building, which I just finished. I enjoyed it very much, though I agree with the reviewer that some of the narrator's generalizations about women and homosexuals made it difficult to stay in the flow. I couldn't help wondering whether the omniscicent voice was meant to represent the prejudices of modern Egyptian society or of the author himself, and though I suppose it isn't altogether necessary to know this, it was jarring. That said, it's an interesting story with wonderfully descriptive passages on day-to-day life in Cairo and on the political realities of modern Egypt.

As Moorishgirl notes, a film of the novel is currently being made. This is significant for a number of reasons. The book deals with the issue of homosexuality with an explicitness not seen before in Egyptian cinema, and yet was cleared by censors. The story also has several powerful scenes of official hypocrisy and corruption. It's obviously a positive step toward dealing with hypocrisy and corruption to allow the making of books and movies that say the government is corrupt and hypocritical, so it will be interesting to see how these things are played in the finished film.

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