The Automobile Club of Egypt

The Automobile Club of Egypt

A Novel

Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd,, [2015]
Edition: First Canadian edition
ISBN: 9781443408431
Branch Call Number: F ASW NVD
Characteristics: 475 pages : genealogical table ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Harris, Russell


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Oct 25, 2015

It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the story as I found it meandering and too loose to follow-but that could have been because I do a lot of my reading in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. I read his first novel detailing Egyptian life and I have to say I feel I enjoyed the earlier one more. By the end of this one I was enjoying it but found some of the characters more generalised caricatures than an in depth 3D realistic person. If that makes sense. It is stil la great insight into Egyptian life and the struggles of the local people- especially when they get involved with a political movement that is outspoken against the corrupt king. The story revolves around a club-"The Automobile Club"- the workers, the relationships and the brutality of the English manager toward the Egyptian workers. It covers a broad range of topics, deftly handling some of them better than others. Worth reading.

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