This book didn't do much for me. I don't think it's bad, it has its moments and I wasn't bored, but a book about a bunch of people living their everyday lives is likely to work for you only if the characters resonate. There wasn't much here that fit with my experience of living in the world--I don't think it's entirely cultural, since plenty of books by American authors are filled with characters who are nothing like anyone I know, it's just a bigger deal in this kind of book. Or maybe I just missed the satire and everyone representing different facets of Egyptian society, or something.
Okay, I'm going to show my lack of culture (or my refusal to buy into the literary establishment!) by comparing a the work of a Nobel Prize-winning author to some current bestseller, but it reminded me of [b:The Casual Vacancy|13497818|The Casual Vacancy|J.K. Rowling|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1341322570s/13497818.jpg|19926990], both being about a group of flawed people who are all neighbors. Only, the characters in that book totally worked for me--either I could see something of myself in them, or they reminded me of people I'd met, or at the very least they seemed like the sort of people I might meet. I did not have that experience here. Oh well.