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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!
If you are at all interested in women's lives in the contemporary Middle East - or even if you're not - you should read this book. It will tell you more about Egyptian society, about the effects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, about the difficulties facing women, who, like the protaginist Asya, find themselves thorn between tradition and modernity, than any number of...
Published on 17 Nov 2000

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An acquired taste
This is a very good example of a particular type of book, a genre. In style and scope it reminded me of the work of Naguib Mahfouz (the Cairo trilogy). It is what I would call a typical middle-eastern novel - big on character, short on plot. A western reader can wonder when a book like this is going to take off, but it never does because it is all about character...
Published on 4 Jun 2008 by David Mawson


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!, 17 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
If you are at all interested in women's lives in the contemporary Middle East - or even if you're not - you should read this book. It will tell you more about Egyptian society, about the effects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, about the difficulties facing women, who, like the protaginist Asya, find themselves thorn between tradition and modernity, than any number of non-fiction words ever will. Despite the size of the book - and the fact that I am not generally a keen reader of novels - I devoured this book in a matter of days, and remain haunted by it. Read it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing book found by chance..., 31 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
Ahdaf Soueif is an amazing author who drew me into the world of Asya and her family, making them familiar as my own family. I cannot go a week without reading this book, but only a little at a time. It is so amazing and incredible, believable, honest, riveting; the characters are always with me. Truly, an amazing accomplishment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely insight to a heart torn between two worlds, 17 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
A must-read for anyone (whether man or woman) growing up torn between two cultures. Soueif shows us what it is like to have the 'real life' imposed on you, the one you live everyday without contemplating because it is given and one grows up not questioning - and the other free life where the only rules that matter are the ones you set on yourself. Asya lives these two lifes, and like so many women from her part of the world, she cannot decide which life-path to choose and what is right and what is wrong.

Being an Egytpian myself, I have enjoyed this book even more. I know the streets, the places she goes to, the expressions used. A lovely 800 pages that pass by too quickly, and the reader is left with a part of Asya inside them doing the thinking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women can't fail to recognise themselves in this book., 11 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Hardcover)
Whilst this novel is slow to start, it deserves to be considered a brilliant book because it depicts incredibly accurately, and with true warmth and compassion for men as well as women, the struggle women have finding their true identity from under all the obligations placed on them by society and religion.
The 'heroine' of the book needs to be loved for who she is and yet can't bear to disappoint all the expectations around her. This is a dramatic (at times terrifyingly true to life) insight into this conflict of needs. The question, "how do you find meaningful relationships within the cultural expectations of all societies in the world, including the West?" is examined here with great honesty. A story that women everywhere will truly identify with.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening and superbly written novel., 29 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
Wow, where do I start? I booked a two and a half week holiday to Egypt and bought a guide book and read it, and several others, from cover to cover many times. Three weeks before my holiday, a friend spotted "In the Eye of the Sun" in a bookshop and urged me to buy it. I read it in a week and must say that it puts any guide book to shame. Asya's tale describes her country with more passion, love and respect that any of the guide books that I read. My holiday was all the more interesting because of this and I was even able to tell members of my tour group a couple of the various facts that I picked up whilst reading the novel. "In the Eye of the Sun" is not only a fabulous novel about the lives and times of a family, but also a look into the modern history of a country with so much history. Truly a book worth reading that will leave you in awe of Egypt, her people and their ways.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful novel that shows us the best of both worlds !, 25 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Hardcover)
This is a brilliant novel that takes us through the life of Asya, an Egyptian girl who experiences life in Egypt and the UK and seems to capture the best of both worlds. The novel gives us a very deep insight into the difficulties faced by a young woman torn between two massively diffferent cultures, beliefs and principles. Yet, after quite a struggle, she manages to find a common ground in which she feels comfortable. The novel also gives the reader a historical backgroung of Egypt and a detailed description of the geography of the country. All in all, being a young woman who more or less experienced a very similar change in my life by moving to the UK from Egypt, I feel that the novel depicts my feelings, anxieties and apprehension at sharing two cultures and gaining the best of both worlds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mediterranean Tale of Love and Life, 10 July 2010
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
This is one of the best novels I've ever read. After twenty years in southern Italy there was finally someone who could write about the Mediterranean I loved so much in a decent, non-racist and non-belittling way. This book is about dazing beauty and heart-rending desperation, about the miracle of the Mediterranean sun and the pointlessness of poverty, radicalism and traffic accidents. This book is also about living a love that will always be a public affair and yet trying to be a 'modern' woman...at the same time as it's about the isolation and close-mindedness of many individuals in the 'western world'. And yet these topics only constitute the framework for the deeper themes of the workings of human relationships and the different faces of love. It is also aboutthe degree to which one's personality (identity) is affected by changes of culture and environment. This story might just as well have been about Calabria or Sicily.
Don't read Ahdaf Soueif because she's 'an Arab' but because she's a brilliant story-teller who deals with subjects of universal value.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving portrait of a woman's life in changing times, 28 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
Soueif's Asya is a captivating character who we watch mature through the book. The image of a troubled and changing Egypt is fascinating, but more so the unbearable sadness of the deterioration of Asya's marriage and the crumbling of her hopes. Well worth reading.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A terrific coming-of-age story, 5 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Eye of the Sun (Paperback)
In the Eye of the Sun tells the story of a young Egyptian woman coming of age, traveling between Egypt and England. It provides a stunning summary of the increasing pressures exercized by modern society on young women, and particularly so (although not necessarily) on young women academics in the developing countries. Although there is no direct indication the work is autobiographical, I could feel the author's deeply personal involvement in the issues brought up. I would suggest all female Ph.D. students read Soueif's novel, together with Joan Bolker's Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Both books, different as they might appear at first sight, serve as an excellent source of courage and motivation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent saga of politics and fanily life in Egypt, 24 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: IN THE EYE OF THE SUN (Paperback)
This is a brilliant read - Ahdaf Souief conveys all the complexities and richness of family life and the conflict between East and West. The relationship between husband and wife is heartbreaking but fascinating. Very original.
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In the Eye of the Sun
In the Eye of the Sun by Ahdaf Soueif (Paperback - 20 May 1999)
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