Set amidst the turmoil of contemporary Middle Eastern politics, this vivid and highly-acclaimed novel by an Egyptian journalist is an intimate look into. “Something of a landmark a bold and important work. [This] is the first novel I know of that successfully renders an Arab, Egyptian Muslim reality in English. Soueif is one of the most extraordinary chroniclers of sexual politics now writing.” In the Eye of the Sun is a significant, near-miraculous original: ‘The Great.

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At times I felt he would become a psycho killer the way you think he’s gone and then tje appears in Asya’s bedroom waiting for her. View all 28 comments. The story flips between life in a sometimes-war-torn and always-in-turmoil Egypt against the rainy and grey and extremely ‘normal’ England.

In the Eye of the Sun by Ahdaf Soueif

Nothing here really on the artsy prosey side. Yet doing so endangers my memories of it, of realizing that not every book I read about the Middle East must be Serious Works of Nonfiction an This was the first book I ever read xun the Middle Ahdag, written by an Arab author. Jul 30, Em rated it really liked it Shelves: I like the way Asya’s life is connected to the world around her.

I wish Soueif ended the novel where Teh left off two days ago around page More than that we see what it means to be a an educated Egyptian woman, with modern needs and desires locked suoeif a patriarchal society. Sorry for talking so much: I love Asya, and Saif, tne every little detail in this story.

The particular patriarchy of Asya’s social context delays her love marriage, apparently destructively, but I felt that the couple’s problems went much deeper. Inspired by Your Browsing History. I don’t know what it soeif about this book but it hurts to finish it. The first part of the novel, when the protagonist, Asya, is still in Egypt was far more interesting, I’m not enthralled with her story once she moves to England.

This book is rather a little like a Henry James novel – it is a novel about Egyptians being Egyptian outside Egypt – transplanted to a different soil, they take their conditioning, education, repressions with them, and play out their dramas far from the protective net of their families.

Return to Book Page. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. There’s also the whole “Modern Egyptians aren’t real Egyptians” spiel being laid to rest in a wonderfully lengthy and comprehensive way. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Asya questions her focus in education on English literature, and in the scene in which she is made to ‘produce’ Arabic sounds for a class on phonemics her yhe finally forces her into silence.


I came across this interview with Leila Souief while I was reading the book and the similarity between their actual life and the book made me feel even more involved and happy.

In the Eye of the Sun: Ahdaf Soueif: Bloomsbury Paperbacks

Through the eyes of an innocent and young student, we see how infatuation and love can create and simultaneously destroy a person. Her experience as a temporary migrant, thr with terrible loneliness, also includes exotification. But I decided to rate it as 5 because of Ahdaf that manage so cleverly to prevent me from letting this pages book down before finishing it!!

She discovers through a quite nerve-wracking process that she does not identify herself with the path that h In order to read this book I think someone must be interested in both feminine emotions and egyptian culture.

This novel tells the story of Asya, growing up amongst the Egyptian elite in Cairo. This book was like sitting a PhD on Egyptian history and culture: I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Asya stays so long with either of the men in the novel. There’s something in me that shouts lazy writing, but another part in me says eun realistic.

I read this very long book in about 4 days and could hardly put it down. To me this isn’t dull mundanity; not only does it create an intimate understanding of and sympathy with our protagonist and reveal her lexic orientation as someone embedded, encamped, engulfed in literature and language, but along with the narration of her and other characters’ thoughts, it builds up a dense, intricate texture that invites the movie reel to roll behind my eyes.

It’s a journey through history since Abdel Nasser’s days till the final days of Sadat, yet it’s not a historical novel, it rather tells how people lived their day to day lives during that time with highlights on a love story that makes a person wonders Feb 14, Sarah rated it it was amazing.

Jun 29, Catherine rated it it was ok. Soueif’s epigrams may be Middlemarchssoueif her narrative control has at key points the coldness and closeness of The Golden Notebookright down to her variation on the theme of political nonfiction digressive insertion into narrative fiction. After Asya moves to England to undertake a PhD whilst her husband travels for work, we experience the struggles of assimilation, the pressure of sexual desire and the burning guilt of engaging in an affair.

While on the front we what a heart breaking book!! So far this book is amazing! She notices things she had never seen before: It deals with the maturity of a young egyptian girl belonging to the cultural elite ahdac Cairo during the 60’s and 70’s. She discovers through a quite nerve-wracking process that she does not identify herself with the path that her family has already designed for her.


I was genuinely sad for it to be over, and that doesn’t happen really often for me with novels, as kn as I read novels.

In the Eye of the Sun

The novel presents life between to in the middle east moving to Europe. Stay in Touch Sign up. But those become increasingly rare as the novel progresses.

Were I to reread this now, I would probably tell you about about sexual and class politics and identity in post-colonial Egypt, but I confess I have not read this book in quite some time and writing this I’m rather tempted to pick it up again, just to see what it’s like.

This book was recently recommended to me by an Egyptian feminist who said, “Read this book, and you’ll understand everything we go through. Later in the book, when Asya is suffering in an unhappy marriage and an unstimulating graduate school program in England, the book starts to move painfully slowly, but when she gets back to Eygpt the book feels alive again.

For me, eyd meant spueif refuge in the jargon of academia and politics when I could, a few stellar scenes such as the real time translation of Arabic oral poetry and the meditation on colonialism and the arts, as well as the general ease in which the story worked its way across the complexities of Egypt, the Middle East, and the world at large, making it worthwhile. Most novels deal with sexuality or just sex on some level, and I guess that focussing on a character negotiating a conservative rhe sexist framing of female purity is hardly a fresh theme, but Ahdaf’s treatment is fresh, incisively nuanced, multi-layered, wholly believable, as well as sizzlingly erotic.

Soueif’s attention to the details of a person’s life, their likes and dislikes, how they interact with others and what makes ahfaf tick brings this whole novel to life. A shorter version of “Under the Gun: This part was also enjoyable because events surrounding Asya’s life are intertwined with historical events.

I took tthe as a wry comment on ‘Western’ education as well as futher detailing of Asya’s character ‘this will teach machines to understand metaphor’, she grimly reflects.