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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  83,780 ratings  ·  5,312 reviews
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Siria
This book failed for me on a number of levels. The premise of it sounded interesting to me--a glimpse at the lives of women and academics under the totalitarian regime in Iran, arranged around a series of bookclub meetings and analyses of various famous books. But for such a promising concept, and for a book which deals with so many serious and complex topics, it's facile and cliched. Almost alarmingly so, in fact.

The tone was the biggest failing for me. It's smug and self-important. For me, it...more
Emma
Aug 17, 2007 Emma added it
Recommends it for: Sheep
I'm not sure I can finish this book. It's just so boring and self-important. And poorly written. My eyes keep crossing. It makes me angry because I think this COULD really be a good book. It has a good premise, a lot of potential, and it's about a topic I'm actually very interested in and would like to know more about. But instead it's dry as hell and doesn't follow any cohesive pattern--it just feels like a lot of random moments in the life of Azar Nafisi strung together by some run-of-the-mill...more
Annalisa
I feel like I showed up for class without reading the required assignment. This book should come with a prerequisite reading list: Lolita, Invitation to a Beheading, The Great Gatsby, Daisy Miller, and Pride and Prejudice or at least a warning for spoilers: (view spoiler). If I would have known Nafisi was going to delve into these literary pieces like she would one of...more
oriana
In case you don't know about this book yet (though, honestly, how could you not know about this book yet?), it is an absolutely amazing memoir by an Iranian woman who was a professor of English & Persian Literature at teh University of Tehran before, during, and after the revolution and war with Iraq. Once wearing the veil became mandatory and she refused to wear one, she was forced to quit teaching, and one way she came up with to fill her time was to gather several of her most dedicated st...more
ايمان
أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران
تخيل أيها القارئ ( عبارة ستصطدم بها كثيرا في هذا الكتاب تأتيك كصفعة أحيانا خصوصا حين تكون معارضا للنفيسي) تخيل أنك تجلس على مكتبك و أمامك كتب أدبية منتقاة بعناية فائقة و كتاب واحد سياسي يتحدث عن الثورة الاسلامية الايرانية و شذرات من أوراق حياة أستاذة جامعية ..تخيل نفسك تقرأ من هذا و ذاك مستمتعا بهذا و رافضا ذاك..فتتداخل الأفكار في عقلك ووجدانك مسببة فوضى و صداع و أحيانا صراعات قد تنتهي بقرارات قد ترضيك و قد لا ترضيك ..تخيل اذن لو جمعت كل تلك الفوضى أمامك في كتاب واحد هو أن...more
Kareena
This was a tough read. I suppose I would have appreciated it more if I had read all the books that were referenced in this one. And if I studied literature, studied the meaning of every scene, every characterization, every image from the books, I might have appreciated it.

Unfortunately this was much too deep and a serious study of literature. I enjoyed her accounts of life in Tehran and the characters in her book. I enjoyed her personal accounts and her life stories. Unfortunately true life was...more
Laurae1212
I am a lover of books. I am a lover of history. I am a lover of cultures. Consequently, I expected to love this book. Sadly, I found my dissappointment growing with each page I turned. The premise of the novel was certainly interesting- exploring times, the way that they were viewed, the oppression of women, religious fanaticism and political regimes that adopted Sharia, family, and the overall way that a country grew dissillusioned with iteself through novels was certainly an interesting one. Y...more
إبراهيم   عادل
حسنًا إذًا .. انتهيت منه .. اخيرًا
تتزاحم الأفكار في رأسي فعلاً لكتابة "تقرير" عن هذا الكتاب غير العادي .. بالتأكيد:
ماذا أرادت منه المؤلفة؟!
ما الرسائل التي تبثها من خلاله بشكل ضمني أو واضح؟!
لمن توجه هذه الرسائل تحديدًا؟!
كيف يستفيد قارئ هذا الكتاب الاستفادة القصوى منه، إن كان ثمة استفادة قصوى؟!!
.
طالت مدة مكوث هذا الكتاب بين يديَّ لأسباب متباينة، بل وقاطعته بغيره، وتركته ثم عدت إليه، فما كان كل ذلك؟!
تضع آذار النفيسي في الجزء الرابع من الكتاب وفي بداية الفصل الثالث منه يدها على أكبر مشكلات الكت...more
بثينة العيسى


ثمة أمر غير مفهوم في منع هذه الرواية، ولكنني أعتقد بأن مزاج الرقيب غير منطقي مجملاً، وقد اعتدنا تلون الموقف الرسمي من الثقافة وممارسة مزيد من المنع والإقصاء لاسترضاء ورشوة ومغازلة أطراف أصولية. الحمد لله على نعمة الانترنت، وقد قرأت الكتاب بضمير مرتاح جدا وممتن لمن قام بقرصنته، ومتأكدة بأن آذر نفيسي لن تمانع.

ما أريد قوله هو أن هذا كتاب عظيم، إنه كتاب عن الأدب وقابليته لإيواء الإنسان وتحصين إنسانيته المسحوقة تحت وطأة الحذاء الثقيل للديموقراطيات الدينية المزعومة، والتي نعرف كلنا بأنها مجرد ديكتات...more
Lorenzo Berardi
I hadn't read Nabokov's Lolita when I started this one.
What aroused my curiosity here was not the artfully chosen title of the novel, but its setting: the Islamic Republic of Iran, formerly known as Persia.

Truth be told, Iran has always interested me a lot, indeed.
Amir, my best friend during secondary school, had Iranian roots and he was (and still is) one of the most clever persons I know. I used to say that when Amir and I were 12 year old, we talked about topics I haven't found anyone to s...more
Fahad
أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران

مرة أخرى، نحن في طهران، ولكننا لا نتتبع في هذه المرة قصة حب خفية، ولا تتقحم سردنا مشاهد مستعادة من (ألف ليلة وليلة)، بل نحن مع دكتورة متخصصة في الأدب الإنجليزي وطالباتها، اللواتي قررن إنشاء ما يشبه نادي كتاب، يؤين إليه في كل خميس، هناك حيث يمكن للنقاش أن يمتد بحرية، بعدما تقلصت مساحة الحرية في إيران الثورة الإسلامية.

عنوان الكتاب مغري جداً، وخاصة للقارئ الغربي، فلوليتا – رواية نابوكوف الشهيرة – رمز غربي لجرأة الأفكار، وقدرتها على مصادمة القارئ، فأن تقرأ هذه الرواية الإشكا...more
رنا
سألت إحدى قارئات تلك السيرة لم اعطيتيه نجمة واحدة قالت بسبب الملل

لم أجد مللاً قط فيه بل روح نقية تسري داخل الكتاب
و وصف مستفيض أحبه بلغة جميلة

في وصف جلسات البنات و حكاياهن عن الروايات
و في نقد آذر لبعض الروايات كلوليتا و دعوة لقطع العنق لنابوكوف و غاتشبي العظيم لفيتزجيرالد و ديزي ميللر و ميدان واشنطن لهنري جيمس و روايات اوستن

لم تقتصر السيرة على الأدب فقط بل على الحياة في ايران
استطاعت آذر أن تمزج بين الأدب و الجمهورية الاسلامية

قلقت بعض الشئ من آذر كونها متحررة كثيرًا
و أنها من الممكن أن تكون...more
Naomi
I read this book while I was down with the flu, which added a dimention to my reading as I was isolated in my room for a couple of days. I read some of the reviews for this book on Good Reads and I must say my experience of this book is quite different from what some other people have reported. Azar's opening two chapters were enough to suck me into her world and engross me. Her reading of Lolita was wonderful and I like the way she able to bring her reading of this book, her reflections on Humb...more
K.D. Absolutely
This book is a must read for all those who love modern classic literature and who are interested on what happened in Iran during the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80s. I was in college that time and I have been hearing and reading bits of news about that war. This book completed that story particularly its impact on the ordinary people particularly on its main characters.

Azar Nafisi, a lady author, effectively related her favorite modern fiction works (Lolita of...more
Iqbal Al-Zirqi
This was a book wich introduced me to Azar Nafisi and her life in Iran before and during the Islamic revolution. I have to admit that when I started reading the book, I was slightley restless with the way she was describing each girl student who was joining her class at her house. However, little by little, I could not sleep whole nights before finishing it. The thing is that Nafisi is very clever author who knows how to attract you in a sneaky way. She pulled me to the atmosphere of the Iran un...more
L.M. Ironside
I feel like a real stooge for not liking this book more. It's one of those books with Important Themes that All People Should Read in order to Understand Our World Better. And I really tried to get into it, but I just couldn't. That probably indicates a failure in my own personality. I am willing to accept this about myself.

I love literature, and I have read most of the books referenced in this memoir. I get way into literature. Kind of kooky about it, in fact. I should have felt so deeply drawn...more
ريم الصالح
كم أشعرُ بالامتلاء في هذهِ اللحظات، والخفة كذلك..!
هذا الكتابُ توحدَ بي بشدة..
توحد بي عميقاً..
أخذتُ أعيشهُ كما لو أنني إحدى طالباتُ آذر قرب نافذة الغيوم على طاولة الطعام والقهوة التركية المجيدة.!
كيف يمكن لكتابٍ أن يؤلمكَ إلى هذا الحد، ثم يربت على جرحكَ الصغير.!
أن يقسو عليك حتى تستشيظ غضباً، ثم يخلق لكَ أكثر اللحظات حميميةً وتخيلاً.!!

آذر نفيسي،
لقد باتت هذه المرأة أماً روحيةً لا تنفك تهمسُ لي (ألا تخافي).!
تأخذكَ إلى أروقة جامعة طهران (والتي اطلعت عليها حقيقةً عبر برنامج ال قوقل ايرث)، والجماعات ا...more
Lena
Nov 11, 2008 Lena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
In the shadows of all the bluster coming out of Iran these days, I try to remember those stories I've heard about Iranians who do not share the religious fervor of their political leaders and long for a more open society than the one that they currently have. Azar Nafisi's memoir about her life as a literature professor in Tehran the years following the revolution gave me a moving and painful glimpse into the lives of those who chafe under a kind of repression that I can only imagine.

Nafisi was...more
Zanna
This book is very personal and my enjoyment of it is very much rooted in my experience of living with Iranian people in the UK and fascination with the country's history and culture. When I first read the book about ten years ago, I was astonished to read about how the 1979 revolution, which is seen by most Westerners as the triumph of Muslim extremists and had been described to me as the British/American led replacement of the insufficiently compliant Shah, looked to Nafisi on the ground. Whate...more
Areej M.
3 نجمات على مبدأ انتهاج الوسطية !
محير هذا الكتاب الذي عمل على 3 محاور ايضاً ...

تحاول السيدة نفيسي ان تقرأ ايران من خلال روايات الادب الامريكي تقرأ لوليتا ، ولـ جويس، اوستن.
تتحدث عن ايران ما بعد الثورة: ايران الجمهورية الاسلامية، وعن الرقيب الاعمى، وعن شخصنة السياسة لدرجة يتحول فيها طلاء الاظافر الى خيانة.

كان يمكننا ان تعاطف جداً مع السيدة نفيسي وعن النساء الجميلات الثائرات اللواتي يحاولنا قول لأ ... كان يمكننا ان نفعل ذلك لو ان السيدة نفيسي توقفت فعلاً عند منتصف الكتاب، ولم تحاول ان تعيده في الج...more
Nicola
This memoir about the power of books in a time of crisis and oppression definitely falls short of the transitive powers the novels it details possess. Though the overall message of the book is a powerful one, its disjointed narrative structure, organized by theme rather than true chronological order, left me more confused than inspired and did not help in my understanding of the bigger picture.

For someone fairly out of the loop as far as politics and world issues go, especially issues that start...more
Heather
I really would have liked to have seen a lot less "Reading Lolita" and a lot more "in Tehran." I've tried to read this book at least three times over the past three years and each time couldn't muster the energy to plow through it. I think the only reason I made it through this time was because of my long commute and the threat of being due back at the library soon.

As I said above, the parts of the book that dealt with the socio-political landscape of the Islamic Republic of Iran - how it chang...more
Mohamed Al Marzooqi
المستحيلات أربع لا ثلاث: الغول والعنقاء والخل الوفي .. وأن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران.

ففي إيران ما بعد الثورة أصبح كل شيء ممنوعًا ومصادرًا وغير مسموحٍ بتداوله فضلاً عن قراءته.

فرقيب السلطة هو وحده من يقرر ما على الشعب أن يقرأه أو لا يقرأه، وهو الوحيد المخوّل بتحديد الخيارات المتاحة أمام القراء (وهي خيارات تتراوح في طبيعتها بين السيء إلى الأكثر سوءًا).

أما القارئ/المواطن العادي فلا يمكنه أن يناقش الرقيب، أو يعترض عليه، أو حتى من باب أضعف الإيمان أن يبدي رأيه في الموضوع. وإلا كان مصيره الدخول في حربٍ خاسر...more
J
From its provoking, intriguing title to its very last page, Azar Nafisi's book, Reading Lolita in Tehran, partly a narrative biography, partly a history of a nation and its people, and partly critical analysis of great American and British authors, is astonishing, enlightening, and important. Much like Marjane Satrapi's amazing graphic novels, Nafisi pulls back the headscarves, the long black robes dictated by the Guardian Council, to show us the modern women of Iran and how they fight to mainta...more
Alyazi
مازلت أتسائل عن قوة النهايات ، نهايات الكتب ، نهايات الأفلام ، نهايات الأشياء ، نهايات البشر ، تداعيتاها والقُدرة على جعلك حزيناً جداً وسعيداً جداً في آن معاً لكنني أؤمن بأن نهايات الكتب - خاصة - هي كتب بحدِ ذاتها ، لمَ تحمله من مشاعر وعواطف مكثفة و بالغة التأثير على القارئ تساوي في ذلك الجزء الكبير من الكتاب .

حين شرعت في قراءة ( أن تقرأ لوليتا في طهران ) مع كل صفحة من صفحات الكتاب كنت أشعر بأنني أكثر إنغلاقاً على ذاتي و توحداً لفترة من الوقت ، كما لو أن آذر تبعث ب"جنياتها" إلى داخلي ، ليبقوني ح...more
Lucrezia
La mia fantasia ricorrente è che alla Carta Costituzionale dei diritti dell'Uomo venga aggiunta la voce: diritto all'immaginazione. Ormai mi sento convinta che la vera democrazia non può esistere senza la libertà di immaginazione e il diritto di usufruire liberamente delle opere di fantasia.
Per vivere una vita vera,completa,bisogna avere la possibilità di dar forma ed espressione ai propri mondi privati, ai propri sogni,pensieri e desideri; bisogna che il tuo mondo privato possa sempre comunicar...more
Khalid
Reading Lolita in Tehran is an autobiography of the life of its author, [Azar Nafisi]; by describing her life, the author gave a very interesting depiction of the life in Iran after the revolution. As an expert and a teacher in literature, she colored the autobiography with a touch of literature; novels, as one probably would guess, had a major role in this book. Some of them gave her an explanation of certain situations, others suggested solutions, and she was always on the watch for these hint...more
Naila
Just...ugh.

Apart from the simplicity of the narrative, (self-centered narrator preaches empathy and a nuanced understanding of humanity via fiction while exulting herself over her nasty, brainwashed students who's arguments she takes great pride in trampling over and and telling us about later), the book is just...bad. The attempted literary connections are so, so forced, and it's definitely more frothy memoir than anything else. The sort of book where the author starts every other sentence with...more
lita
“Gatsby is being put on trial because it disturbs us – at least some of us. [...] This is not the first time a novel – a non-political novel – has been put on trial by a state. [...] Remember the famous trials of Madame Bovary? Ulysses, Lady Chatterly’s Lover dan Lolita? In each case the novel won. But let me focus on a point that seems to trouble his honor the judge, as well as the prosecutor: the lure of money and its role in the novel.”

Paragraf tadi menggambarkan persidangan imajiner yang dig...more
Faye
(I'm giving this 4.5 stars, the only tiny deduction being for the lack of quotation marks during some conversations, making it very difficult to follow who was saying what.)

This book touched my heart in ways I wasn't expecting. I was constantly putting myself in these women's place - regular young women who loved to read, suddenly finding themselves in an ultra-Islamic society that didn't allow them to read what they wanted to read, go where they wanted to go, wear what they wanted to wear, bein...more
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Azar Nafisi, Ph.D. (Persian: آذر نفیسی) (born December 1955) is an Iranian professor and writer who currently resides in the United States.

Nafisi's bestselling book Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books has gained a great deal of public attention and been translated into 32 languages.

More about Azar Nafisi...
Things I've Been Silent About: Memories The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian Voices Gatsby دایی جان ناپلئون

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“You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again.” 684 likes
“Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.” 191 likes
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