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An Egyptian comedy of errors

Alaa Al Aswany’s latest colourful saga of Cairo life is also an important social satire on modern Egypt

16 January 2016

9:00 AM

16 January 2016

9:00 AM

The Automobile Club of Egypt Alaa Al Aswany

Canongate, pp.480, £14.99, ISBN: 9780857862198

The Yacoubian Building, the first novel of the Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany, sold well over a million copies in 35 languages, was made into a film, and turned him overnight into one of the most listened to voices in the Arab world. What followed — Chicago, set in the city in which Al Aswany did his masters degree in dentistry, and some short stories — did not have quite the charm of his sprawling houseful of driven, troubled, passionate characters trying to survive in a country of extreme social ills.

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