By Azar Nafisi
Each Thursday morning for 2 years within the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azar Nafisi, a daring and encouraged instructor, secretly collected seven of her such a lot dedicated lady scholars to learn forbidden Western classics. a few got here from conservative and spiritual households, others have been innovative and secular; a few had frolicked in prison. They have been shy and uncomfortable in the beginning, unaccustomed to being requested to talk their minds, yet quickly they got rid of their veils and started to talk extra freely–their tales intertwining with the novels they have been studying by means of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, as fundamentalists seized carry of the schools and a blind censor stifled inventive expression, the ladies in Nafisi’s front room spoke not just of the books they have been studying but additionally approximately themselves, their goals and disappointments.
Azar Nafisi’s luminous masterwork supplies us a unprecedented glimpse, from the interior, of women’s lives in progressive Iran. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a piece of serious ardour and poetic attractiveness, a awesome exploration of resilience within the face of tyranny, and a party of the releasing strength of literature.
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Extra info for Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
When Ali went away to England six years ago, his mother took to calling Sanaz his bride. They wrote to each other, sent photographs, and recently, when the number of Sanaz’s suitors increased, there were talks of engagement and a reunion in Turkey, where Iranians did not require entrance visas. Any day now it might happen, an event Sanaz looked forward to with some fear and trepidation. I had never seen Sanaz without her uniform, and stood there almost transfixed as she took off her robe and scarf.
But, she added, everyday life does not have fewer horrors than prison. I asked Mahshid if she wanted some tea. Always considerate, she said she’d rather wait for the others and apologized for being a little early. Can I help? she asked. There’s really nothing to help with. Make yourself at home, I told her as I stepped into the kitchen with the flowers and searched for a vase. The bell rang again. I’ll get it, Mahshid cried out from the living room. I heard laughter; Manna and Yassi had arrived.
When I was very young, I was obsessed with the colors of places and things my father told me about in his nightly stories. I wanted to know the color of Scheherazade’s dress, her bedcover, the color of the genie and the magic lamp, and once I asked him about the color of paradise. He said it could be any color I wanted it to be. That was not enough. Then one day when we had guests and I was eating my soup in the dining room, my eyes fell on a painting I had seen on the wall ever since I could remember, and I instantly knew the color of my paradise.
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi