I usually say I don't like short stories. I really don't. You just get to know the characters and the story ends. I want more, I want to get to know them better, see the story unfold, I just feel cheated at the end. That doesn't mean I don't try it again and again and, just once in a while, I am positively surprised.
Like with this one, since I read "The Map of Love", I really admire this author. She manages to describe the people so vividly and the stories are so interesting, she is just a great writer.
Anyway, "Aisha" isn't really a collection of short stories but the description of Aisha's life and that of people in her life who turn up in the short stories. So, you have something like a “red thread” weaving itself through the pages. I like that.
I also like Ahdaf Soueif's journey between East and West, bringing Orient and Occident together. Well done.