Egypt is in the news today for all the wrong reasons. But when I witness the turmoil there, I perceive a silver lining: this is the birth pain of a true democracy.
I have had a lifelong love affair with Egypt, ever since I studied about pharaohs and the pyramids and hieroglyphics in middle school. I have seen the similarity with India, the paradox of being immensely rich culturally and dirt poor monetarily. Visiting the country had been my secret dream, which was realised three years ago.
I read this novel before visiting Egypt: and after my visit, I could only marvel at how Aswany has succeeded in bringing the multifaceted country under one roof, that of the Yacoubian building. Capturing the macrocosm in the microcosm, when done by gifted writers, produces wonders.
I am increasing my rating from 3 to 4 stars on second thoughts.
I pray the events in Egypt, for all the tragedy and angst, end on a positive note - like the novel.