In the Eye of the Sun is a brilliant novel of cultural collision that reveals, with startling precision, the hidden life of contemporary Arab women as they confront the West. Set in Egypt and England against a backdrop of political upheaval - the 1967 war, the War of Attrition, the advent of Arab socialism, the death of Nasser, the Camp David accords, the bombing of South Lebanon, the rise of the intifada, and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza - it tells of Asya Ulama (literally, "Asia of the learned clerics"), an Egyptian woman now living in the north of England as a Ph. D. candidate at an unnamed university. Married to Saif Madi - a prudish, repressed, and often sadistic man - Asya begins an affair with Gerald Stone, a boorish, sexually overwhelming Englishman. Burdened by these unfulfilling relationships and her toilsome graduate study, Asya struggles to reconcile the incongruities of language and culture in her life while confronting the vicissitudes of gender and history.
Richly evocative, remarkable for its lyricism and psychological exactness, In the Eye of the Sun is a singular achievement.