Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
The inspirational tale of eight women who defied the confines of life in revolutionary Iran through the joy and power of literature. 'That room for all of us, became a place of transgression. What a wonderland it was! Sitting around the large coffee table covered with bouquets of flowers ...We... show more
The inspirational tale of eight women who defied the confines of life in revolutionary Iran through the joy and power of literature. 'That room for all of us, became a place of transgression. What a wonderland it was! Sitting around the large coffee table covered with bouquets of flowers ...We were, to borrow from Nabokov, to experience how the ordinary pebble of ordinary life could be transformed into a jewel through the magic eye of fiction.' For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Azar Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. Shy and uncomfortable at first, they soon began to open up and speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading - 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Washington Square', 'Daisy Miller' and 'Lolita' - their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran. Nafisi's account flashes back to the early days of the revolution when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. Azar Nafisi's luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women's lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice.
Publish date: November 1st 2008
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages no: 368
Edition language: English
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This is one of those books that comes along and turns everything you thought you knew upside down. I loved every minute of it and can't wait to read more from Nafisi. She manages to do so much in this book. It just amazes me. She makes me want to read everything over again (except Lolita which I rea...
Excellent book. The mix of literature as a way to escape the drama of war and the author's desire to stay true to her self make this memoir an essential reading for any woman living in a liberal country.
Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #11: A Book from the Rory Gilmore Reading ChallengeGosh, I wish I hadn't waited so long to write this review.This book was different than I expected it to be. Based on its descriptions, I thought it would be focused on the lives of the girls in the authors book...
Literature matters. I could argue for hours about the importance of stories and the transformative powers of words. But whatever I say pales in comparison to the experience of people like Azar Nafisi, who lived in Iran for 18 years during a time when literature was a matter of life and death. Her me...
This did lure me in and eventually beguile me, but certainly not from the first. Nafisi warns from the introduction that she would be changing details of the people presented not just to shield them from persecution but protect their privacy. I admit, I’ve become wary of creative non-fiction that ad...