Abd el-Aziz, formerly a landowner but now in the grips of extreme poverty, moves his family to Cairo and takes on menial work in the storeroom of The Automobile Club. This is Egypt immediately after the Second World War: the Club is a place of refuge and luxury for its European members and a place where Egyptians may appear only as servants. Egypt’s corrupt, womanizing king serves as patron and his chief-of-staff, Alku, runs the show in all but name.
Once Alku becomes dissatisfied with Abd el-Aziz, the man’s days are numbered. His death—as much from shame as from injury after Alku has him beaten—sees his widow further impoverished, and two of his sons, Mahmud and Kemal, obliged to undertake work in the Club. As the whole family is drawn into the politics of the Club and the lives of its members, both servants and masters are subsumed by the unrest of the outside world. Soon the Egyptians of The Automobile Club of Egypt face a stark choice: to live safely, but without dignity, as servants, or to fight for their rights and risk everything.
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Alaa Al Aswany is the internationally bestselling author of The Yacoubian Building and Chicago. A journalist who writes a controversial opposition column, Al Aswany makes his living as a dentist in Cairo.Review:
Myriad colourful details, intertwining narratives, and dramatic cliffhangers form an earthy, entertaining contrast to the novel's sober preoccupations - namely, the human spirit's capacity to both transcend and be crushed by oppressive systems * Publisher's Weekly, Pick of the Week * Al Aswany is a humane, perceptive, evocative storyteller ... A master observer of the human condition, unblinking but sympathetic, and unputdownable * Literary Review * A wonderful storyteller * Spectator * Among the best writers in the Middle East today ... Al Aswany has his own magic * Guardian * Praise for The Yacoubian Building: The stories in this novel are beautifully, simply told - the characters are alive from page one * Sunday Times * Rich and engaging * Daily Mail * An intriguing and highly charged novel ... Alaa Al Aswany's eponymous structure is a microcosm of modern Egyptian society ... A superbly crafted feat of storytelling -- TASH AW * Daily Telegraph * Bewitching ... a comic yet sympathetic novel about the vagaries of the human heart * New York Times Book Review * A superbly crafted feat of storytelling * Sunday Telegraph * A sharp, humorous novel -- CAROLINE MOORHEAD * Spectator * There are many stories here. The book is elaborate to bursting point, but always controlled, always whole. It is as juicy and satisfying as a shiny apple, its taste both strange and familiar, compassionate and bitter * The Times * Fabulous, acutely observed story of human foibles, full of vivid scenes and extraordinary characters * Mail on Sunday * With its parade of big-city characters, both ludicrous and tender, its warm heart and political indignation, it belongs to a literary tradition that goes back to the 1840s, to Eugene Sue and Charles Dickens ... The plotting is neat, the episodes are funny and sad, and there are deaths and weddings aplenty * Guardian * Addictively readable * Independent * Absorbing * Observer * Bewitching * Scotsman * Praise for Chicago: Brilliant ... Al Aswany is like an Egyptian Anne Tyler * Sunday Times * A powerful, political page-turner * Daily Mail * A masterpiece, the warmest and finest and most involving Egyptian novel in the last thirty years * Open Letters Monthly *
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Book Description Harper Collins 2015-08-18, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9781443408431B
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111443408433