I finished reading Yacoubian building novel two weeks ago. It is so interesting to the degree that I kept on reading it continously till I finished it in two days (nearly 6 hours). Alaa Aswani is a brilliant writer, he did reflect social problems in a very good way.
Yacoobian building doesn’t differ much than any typical big building in any society of the arab world. Those problems exists everywhere. The other day while going into our buidling, I noticed this young guy (around 24 years old) who used to wear normal stuff like other guys his age these days (jeans and t-shirt), in the past year some changes started to show on looks and way of dressing. His beard started to grow heavily, he changed the way he dresses and start wearing those white dresses that religious muslim people wear. I am not saying that he is becoming a terrorits, and I have no idea of how much he resembles the guy in the novel who turned into being a terrorist, but I am a bit concerned watching those quick changes in him. I know that it isnt right to judge people based on their appearance, I am not judgeing here, but merely point out that he reminds me of the character in the novel.
We have a neighbour who married a his second wife secretly behind the back of his first wife. He had a secret relationship with her for sometime then married her behind his first wife back. When his first wife found out it was almost 2 years marriage. She got crazed and asked him for a divorce. He reminds me of the other character in the novel who married the widow woman in secret. This problem has been discussed heavily discuessed in Egyptian series before, and it continuous to happen till this day.
I wonder how many working women who lives in our building had to deal with sexual harassment at work. While they all seem wealthy enough (unlike Bothaina in the novel) to not accept such a behaviour, this issue is widely spread and most probably some of them have faced or are facing something like that on different levels before.
We don’t have poor people as of those who lived at the roof of the building except of the Egyption guard of the building who left his country in order to make some money, and is struggling to deal with the men and women of the building who are enjoying making a boss on him.
We have also a christian family living in peace with muslim families around the building. Sure there are many teenage problems that werent addressed in the novel. And we have also a gay guy like the one in the novel!
It is an awsome peace of literature that managed to capture some big problems of our society. I just wonder how many Yacobian buildings we have around?!!!