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Aisha Paperback – 8 Feb 1996

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (8 Feb. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747525366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747525363
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 763,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Aisha is Ahfaf Soueif's first book and to say it is promising is to understate the case: it is highly accomplished. Aisha is further evidence of the fact that some of the most confident British fiction is being written by people of mixed cultures' Victoria Glendinning, Sunday Times 'There is lively, lucid writing here, vivid description and sharply observed dialogue' Isabel Raphael, The Times 'A highly unusual and richly impressive first novel ... The author weaves a circle round us thrice with the touch of a born sorceress. One awaits her next with great expectations' Christopher Wordsworth, Guardian 'The writing is deft and pattient, the understanding of this trickiest of narrative forms is sure and rarely off-target' Edward Said, London Review of Books

About the Author

Ahdaf Soueif was born in Cairo. She is the author of Sandpiper, In the Eye of the Sun and the bestselling novel The Map of Love which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999. She has translated I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti from Arabic into English. She also is a journalist and commentator and her work is syndicated throughout the world.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this book thinking that it was a short novel about a woman called Aisha (who as we can see from the first story is an early sketch for Asya in 'In the Eye of the Sun'). In fact, what 'Aisha' is is a series of short stories, with the young intellectual Aisha providing a link between them: all the stories are either about her, her friends or her family servants.

There is some truly wonderful writing in this book: beautiful descriptions of places, excellent dialogue, and sharp insights into the characters' minds. I particularly enjoyed the first story, in which Aisha reflects painfully on the end of her marriage; her memories of living in England as a child; the story of Marianne (Mimi), Aisha's Coptic Christian friend who falls in love with the wrong man; and the stories of Aisha's family servant Zeina, married young, who has to put up with her husband taking a second, younger wife (or does she?). As these are short stories, the tone is quite fragmented and there isn't really an overall narrative. There are a lot of gaps in Aisha's story that don't get filled - we never really learn how she met her husband, or much about her family and her work as a teacher, or her education after her childhood in England. Still, if one isn't expecting a chronological narrative this doesn't matter - just enjoy Soueif's beautiful writing and depictions of Egypt.

The one thing that did confuse me was the final story, which had a hint of magic realism about it: the Aisha here seemed a totally different woman to the one in the first story - she was still married, for one thing. Were they meant to be the same person? And the love affair with the butcher seemed a bit bizarre.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unexpected stories told by a keen observer.

Some make you think and wonder long after...
They just carry you into the time and setting of their happening, very vividly described, leaving bold memorable images of previously unfamiliar things and people, as if you saw them, met them, listened to them..

Ahdaf Soueif manages to make it feel as if she is your sister/best friend, confinding in you, revealing her thoughts without a stamp of formality on them. Keen observer, she is unafraid to share most intimate observations truthfully and openly, yet in a very decent even elegant style, and in a way that makes you feel that the observation was your own, not hers.

After Aisha I went and bought all available books by Ahdaf Soueif.
Currently enjoying "In the eye of the sun".
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13 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
Soueif not only writes well. What she has to say is important. The style is supple and engaging. This book has wet my appetite for the big ones.
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