Caroline Moorehead

Coming to America

Chicago

By

Fourth Estate 352pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

When The Yacoubian Building first appeared in Egypt in 2002, there was considerable surprise that its author, Alaa Al Aswany, escaped censorship. Though the country is officially a democracy, in practice the right to speak out against either Islam or President Mubarak and his government is severely restricted. A young blogger called Abdel-Karim Nabil Suleiman was jailed not long ago for four years for his outspokenness.

Yet The Yacoubian Building, a humorous, sometimes tragic tale of life in a decayed apartment block in downtown Cairo, was published uncensored and became an immediate bestseller across the Arab world, despite its clear portrayal of a society

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