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About the book
  • Published: 26 August 2015
  • ISBN: 9781926428390
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $32.99
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The Automobile Club of Egypt




Full of absorbing incident, and marvelously drawn characters, The Automobile Club of Egypt gives us Egypt on the brink of changes that resonate to this day. It is an irresistible confirmation of Al Aswany's reputation as one of the world's most beguiling storytellers and insightful interpreters of the human spirit.

A rollicking, exuberant and powerfully moving story of a family swept up by social unrest in post-World War II Cairo.

Once a respected landowner, Abd el-Aziz Gaafar fell into penury and moved his family to Cairo, where he was forced into menial work at the Automobile Club – a of refuge of colonial luxury for its European members. There, Alku, the lifelong Nubian retainer of Egypt's corrupt and dissolute king, lords it over the staff, a squabbling but tight-knit group, who live in perpetual fear, as they are thrashed for their mistakes, their wages dependent on Alku's whims. When, one day, Abd el-Aziz stands up for himself, he is neaten. Soon afterward, he dies, as much from shame as from his injuries. Leaving his widow and four children further impoverished.

The family's loss propels them down different paths but they remain tightly connected to the Automobile Club. It is at the Club, too that dangerous politics find the favor and patronage of the king's seditious cousin, and unlikely revolutionary plotter-cum-bon vivant. Soon, both servants and masters will be subsumed by the brewing social upheaval. And the Egyptians of the Automobile Club will face a stark choice: to live safely, but without dignity, or to fight for their rights and risk everything.

Full of absorbing incident, and marvelously drawn characters, The Automobile Club of Egypt gives us Egypt on the brink of changes that resonate to this day. It is an irresistible confirmation of Al Aswany's reputation as one of the world's most beguiling storytellers and insightful interpreters of the human spirit.

Praise for Alaa Al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building:

'A superbly crafted feat of storytelling.' Sunday Telegraph

'The characters are alive from page one.' Sunday Times

'Tremendously likeable.' San Francisco Chronicle



  • Pub date: 26 August 2015
  • ISBN: 9781926428390
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Alaa Al Aswany

Alaa Al Aswany was born in 1957. A dentist by profession, Al Aswany is the author of the bestselling novel The Yacoubian Building, Chicago and the novella and short story collection Friendly Fire.

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