The Yacoubian Building (Arabic: عمارة يعقوبيان ʿImārat Yaʿqūbīān) is a novel by Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany.Published in Arabic in 2002 and in an English translation in 2004, the book, set in 1990 at about the time of the first Gulf War, is a roman à clef and scathing portrayal of modern Egyptian society since the coup d'état (aka Revolution) of 1952. The locale of the novel is downtown Cairo, with the titular apartment building (which actually exists) serving as both a metaphor for contemporary Egypt and a unifying location in which most of the primary characters either live or work and in which much of the novel's action takes place. Al Aswany's first dentist's office was in the actual Yacoubian Building.

The books characters are a hodge-podge of imperfect people, including a sultry woman, an elderly aristocrat, a student with fundamentalist leanings, and a corrupt politician. The sexual frankness of the novel caused a stir in Egypt when it was first published.


ISBN 0-06-087813-4

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