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Alaa Al Aswany was born in 1957. A dentist whose first office was in the Yacoubian Building, he has written prolifically for Egyptian newspapers across the political spectrum on literature, politics and social issues.
An astounding portrait of modern Cairo, of bribery and corruption, of love and despair, of opportunities sought and contradictions found, all hung around the occupants of a dilapidated department building. It has been a bestseller in the Arab world for four years and certainly deserves to be one over here too. A very impressive work.Comparison: Ahdaf Soueif, Naguib Mafouz, Orhan Pamuk.