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In the Eye of the Sun by [Soueif, Ahdaf]
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In the Eye of the Sun Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Length: 801 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Literary critic Edward Said has described Ahdaf Soueif as "one of the most extraordinary chroniclers of sexual politics now writing"; In the Eye of the Sun, a story of love and war, sexuality and politics, in modern Egypt and England is a key contribution to that chronicle (Soueif's The Map of Love, first published in 1999, is another). The book begins in London in 1979, with Asya reflecting back on events in Cairo more than a decade before. It's May, 1967: Asya, studying for University, is in the grip of "exam fever"; on the stage of international politics, war is about to break out between Israel and Egypt. Soueif presents that war in brief, journalistic "scenes" that run alongside her exploration of Asya's coming-of-age as a woman in modern Egypt. For Asya, education, love, sexuality and marriage are bound up with, and touched by, the violent conflicts between Egypt and Israel--as well as the seductions, and disappointments, of Europe. Studying for her doctorate in literature at an English University, Asya confronts the difficulty of her marriage to Saif--a man she loves but has never been able to make love to, who is never with her but finds her demands on his time "intolerable". The scenes between husband and wife are among the most memorable, and painful, in the book: in particular, Saif's furious shock at his wife's (eventual) infidelity: "I expected my wife to be loyal. I expected my wife to have some sense of honour. I expected ..."

Exploring the gulf between them through that other gulf between East and West, Soueif offers a remarkable reflection on the recent history of Egypt and England through the life of a woman who won't give up on her question: "Why does it have to be like this?" --Vicky Lebeau

Review

"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. A tour de force."--Leila Ahmed, Washington Post Book World "Raw, accurate, searing....Soueif [is] one ofthe most extraordinary chroniclers of sexual politics now writing."--Edward Said, The Times Literary Supplement

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3094 KB
  • Print Length: 801 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks; 1 edition (10 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0099P4454
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #289,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 17 Nov. 2000
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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