In Light of My Eye, Paula Jacques, born in Egypt, recreates the vanished world of cosmopolitan Cairo with remembered affection and amusing dialogue. Her novel depicts the turbulent waning days of its once thriving Jewish community, during the strange and ominous time between the collapse of the Egyptian monarchy and Nasser's rise to power. At its centre are the pre-adolescent Mona Castro and her family, whose lives and destinies the author evokes in a series of scenes that veer between poignancy and wit. Mona's coming of age is marked by her youthful rebellion against her domineering mother, Becky; the illness of the beloved family patriarch, Joucky; and her half-innocent dalliance with an older man, a refugee from eastern Europe. The surrounding ensemble of relatives, whose family gatherings attempt to cope with a history that will overwhelm them, shifts the focus from Mona' s tale to a chronicle of a proud, doomed family.
After her family was expelled from Egypt in 1958, Paula Jacques lived briefly in Israel and later moved to France. She was a founder of a theatrical repertory company, and has been active as a woman of leters and a journalist since 1975. She hosts a popular Sunday cultural radio program, Cosmopolitaine. Several of her novels have won prizes for fiction, including the prestigious Prix Femina